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BY HIS grace's 

24, Bedford Square, 

April 8, 1844. 


Intkoduction .... 

Points of Inquiry . . . . 

The Doctrine of Development 

Reverence towards the Memory of the Virgin Mary 


Present Worship of the Virgin 


Authorized and enjoined worship . . , .1 

Prayers to the Almighty through the mediation of Mary . 2 

Prayers to Mary for her intercession . . .5 

Prayers to Mary for spiritual and temporal blessings . 6 

Substitution of the praise of Mary in place of the Gloria Patri . 12 

Indulgence of Pope Leo X, with the prescribed prayer . 16 

Reflexions on the foregoing evidence . . .20 


Worship of the Virgin continued . , . .21 

W'orship through May, Mary's Month ... 24 

Bonaventura . . . . . .25 

Gabriel Biel, and John Gerson . . . . 38 

Damianus . . . . . .40 

Bernardinus de Bustis .... 41 

Bernardinus Sennensis . . . . . 43 

Tlieophilus Raynaud . ... 48 




Present Doctrine of the Church of Rome . . .58 

Present Pope's Encyclical Letter ... 69 

Work called "Imitation of the Virgin Mary" . . 62 

" Little Testament of the Holy Virgin " . . . 64 

Alphonsus Liguori's " Glories of Mary" . . .66 

ftS" See also Appendix .... 367 

Confederation of the most holy Mary, mother of Providence . 69 

Reflexions on the foregoing .... 70 



Evidence of Holy Scripture . . . .75 

Evidence of the Old Testament ... 78 

Evidence of the New Testament . . . .79 

Assumption of the Virgin Mary ... 94 


Evidence of the Church down to the Nicene Council . 115 


Ancient Creeds . . , . . .117 

Apostolic Fathers . . . . .119 

Epistle of St. Barnabas ..... 120 
Shepherd of Hermas .... 121 

'Clement of Rome . . . . .122 

Ignatius •••■■. 125 

Polycarp ...... 127 


Evidence to the ciose of the Second Century. 

Justin Martyr ...... 132 

Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus . . . 135 

Ireneeus •••... 138 

Clement of Alexandria . . . • 141 
Tertullian . . . . . .142 



Evidence through the Third Century. 

Origen . . . . . .147 

Gvegory Thaumaturgus .... 152 

See also Appendix ..... 370 

Cyprian ...... 153 

Methodius ...... 156 

Lactautius . . . . . igs 


Evidence of the Fourth Century, down to the Nicbne Council. 
Eusebius ...... 160 

Apostolical Canons and Constitutions . . . 162 

Athanasius . . . . . .164 


From the Nioene Council to the close of the Fourth Century 174 


Cyril of Jerusalem . . . , . 1 74 

Hilary of Poictiers ..... 181 

Macarius . . . . . .186 

Epiplianius , . . . , igo 


Basil . . . . . .203 

Gregory of NayAanzum .... 212 

See also Appendix . . . . 373 and 378 

Ephraim the Syrian .... 223 

Gregory of Nyssa ..... 240 

Ambrose ...... 246 


Evidence op the Fifth Century .... 256 


Chrysostom . . . , . 255 

See also Appendix ..... 370 



See also Appendix 





Basil of Seleucia 

Orosius and Sedulius 




Councils of Constantinople, &c. 


Isidore of Pelusium 



Vincentius Lirinensis 




Cyril of Alexandria 

Pope Leo .... 

Popes Hilarus, Simplicius, and Felix 

Pope Gelasius 

Popes Aiiastasius and Symmaclms . 





Alplionsus Liguori 

Gregory Tliaurnaturgus 

Gregory of Nazianzum 


Cyril of Alexandria 

Mary, the Egyptian 



The Author of the following treatise has been long 
accustomed to rank the Worship of the Virgin Mary 
among the greatest of those impediments which keep 
asunder the Reformed Church of England and the 
present Church of Rome. Ardently as every true 
Christian must long for the establishment of har- 
mony and peace, and for the interchange of the 
various offices of brotherly love, among all members 
of Christ's Church, he cannot hope to see the realiza- 
tion of his desire with respect to these two Churches 
so long as that wide gulf remains to separate them. 
A Church which acknowledges no object of religious 
worship except the Almighty alone, and recognises 
no mediator between God and man except only the 
Lord Jesus Christ, cannot, without a compromise of 
principle, hold the full communion of Christian M^or- 
ship with another Church which confesses the Vir- 
gin Mary to be the ground of a Christian's hope, 
which offers supplications to her for her intercession, 
and prays to her for her protection, guidance, and suc- 
cour; which addresses prayers to the Supreme Being 


through her, and in her name, as mediator ; and ren- 
ders religious praises to her as the fountain and living 
spring of mercj, of grace, and of all consolation, ac- 
knowledging her to be Queen of heaven and Sovereign 
Mistress of the world. 

Recent events seem to confirm us greatly in this 
view ; pointing to the worship of Mary in the Church 
of Rome as the chief practical barrier between mem- 
bers of the two Churches. To many a wavering spirit 
has the Church of Rome held out her own communion 
as the sure, and the only sure, place of refuge, where 
spiritual doubts cease from troubling, and misgivings 
have no place ; where implicit faith in an infallible 
guide Mds defiance to every assailant, and suffers no 
disturbing thought to arise, converting the present life 
of perplexity into a state of tranquillity and peace. 
Various as are the counteracting causes to prevent the 
fulfilment of such expectations, none, we are told, are 
so generally operative, or so insurmountable to a mind 
that has habitually made God the sole object of prayer, 
and the Son of God the sole Mediator, as the worship 
of the blessed Virgin. 

Be this as it may ; as members of the Church of 
England, separated from the errors of Rome, and ana- 
thematized by Rome in consequence of that separa- 
tion, it well becomes us to ascertain calmly and pa- 
tiently, first, whether what we allege against Rome 
does in very deed exist in her and belong to her ? 
and, in the next place, whether that, whatever it be, 
is so contrary to the doctrine of our Saviour and his 


Atjostles, and so inconsistent with the teaching and 
practice of the Church in her earliest and purest ages, 
as to require such a separation ? 

These two points it is the main object of the pre- 
sent treatise to ascertain and establish. 

With that view, the author endeavours, first, to 
shew from authentic documents, and without exagge- 
ration, what has been, and what still is, the teaching 
and practice of the Church of Rome as to the worship 
of the Virgin. He has searched diligently into her 
authorized and prescribed formularies ; into the works 
of her canonized saints and accredited teachers ; and 
into the devotional exercises provided for her mem- 
bers, with more or less of public sanction attached to 
them, and still in common use. He then proceeds 
to another inquiry, and proves that such a system, so 
far from having its foundation in Holy Scripture, is 
directly at variance with the teaching of the Book of 
inspired truth ; and, in confirmation of the conclusions 
which the study of that volume forces upon the mind, 
he appeals to the faith, and teaching, and practice of 
the primitive Church through the first five centuries. 
In this department of his undertaking he can fear- 
lessly say that he has not wittingly neglected a single 
genuine work, or a single passage in any genuine work, 
of the writers of those times, which could throw light 
on the subject of his inquiry. He has not only exa- 
mined, without any conscious partiality, into the evi- 
dence to which the Roman Catholic advocates for the 
worship of Mary have appealed, but he has also him- 


self searched with diligence for any other testimony 
which may exist of each author's habitual sentiments, 
and even incidental expressions and indirect refer- 
ences, bearing on the point at issue. On putting the 
various testimonies together, he acknowledges that 
the result has been no less surprising than satisfactory 
to himself, as a Catholic Christian protesting against 
the errors of the Church of Rome. 

No single remark of any of these writers leads us to 
infer that the worship of the Virgin was known in 
their times. On the contrary, their silence, and that 
often on occasions when their silence is inconsistent 
with their possessing knowledge on the subject, proves 
them to have been unconscious of any such doc- 
trine and practice as now prevail in the Church of 
Rome. But besides this, which may be called negative 
evidence, we find many of the most venerable Fathers 
of the Church, in their comments on the passages of 
Scripture which record the actions of the Virgin, di- 
rectly charging her with errors and failings totally 
irreconcileable with the present doctrine and practice 
of the Church of Rome.* Indeed, a collection of 
these comments would form a catena of interpretation 
of passages of Scripture as harmonious, consistent, au- 

* e. g. See Tertullian, p. 145 and 146 of this volume. 
Origen, p. 151. 
Basil, p. 206. 
Ambrose, p. 251. 
Chrysostom, p. 269. 
Theodoret, p. 329. 
Cyril of Alexandria, p. 342. 


thoritative, and Catholic, perhaps, as could be col- 
lected on any one subject whatever from the writers 
of the same period. It is also worthy of remark, 
that the spurious writings ascribed to these Fathers, 
writings, the date of which cannot with any reason be 
referred to a period earlier than the se^entb century, 
most remarkably abound, on the other hand, with 
ascriptions of power, and mercy, and glory, to the Vir- 
gin, declarations of implicit belief in her influence and 
intercession, and prayers to her for temporal and spi- 
ritual blessings ; whilst for any traces of such ascrip- 
tions, declarations, and prayers, their genuine works 
will be searched in vain.''^ 

With humble confidence the Author would invite 
all who call themselves Christians to examine and sift 
the evidence, and to try the momentous question for 
themselves ; the issue joined between the two Churches 
being this, Whether the worship of the blessed Virgin 
Mary in the Church of Rome be not contrary to the 
teaching of Holy Scripture, and to the faith and prac- 
tice of the Church of Christ for five hundred years 
and more. 

* See St. Ignatius, p. 370. 
Methodius, p. 156. 
Athanasius, p. 165. 
Gregory Thaumaturgus, p. 370. 
Gregory of Nazianzum, p. 217, 218, 375, 378. 
Bphraim Syrus, p. 226. 
Chrysostom, p. 370. 
Augustine, p. 370. 
Cyril of Alexandria, p. 384. 
Pope Leo, p. 350. 
See also, " Acts of Mary, the Egyptian," Appendix, p. 387. 


If this point be settled ; if the written word of God 
cannot be alleged in support of the system upheld 
and propagated by the Church of Borne, but is in its 
general bearing contrary to it ; and if the teaching and 
example of the primitive Church through five hundred 
years be also contrary to the doctrine and practice 
of the Church of Rome, probably few unprejudiced 
minds will acquiesce in the solution which there ap- 
pears at the present day among the advocates of that 
system a growing inclination to put forward and main- 
tain — THE DOCTRINE, as it is Called, of DEVELOPMENT. 

The Almighty, they allege, did not impart to mankind 
the whole truth in all its fulness at the first preaching of 
the Gospel, but bequeathed to his Church the privilege 
of deriving from him and communicating to the world 
successive revelations of essential doctrine. Conse- 
quently (they proceed to argue) it is not enough to 
shew that a tenet is not found in Scripture, nor 
even in the early Chvirch, to warrant its rejection. 
It may, they say, have pleased God to reveal it in 
his own good time ; and of the reality of that revela- 
tion the Church is the only judge: from her there 
lies no appeal. 

This is no new doctrine, though after ages of desue- 
tude it has recently been revived. Not for the first 
time now is recourse had to the perversion of a principle 
which is in itself, and in its legitimate application, sound 
and valuable. We find the abuse of the true doctrine 
censured in early days ; and it well becomes us to be 
on our guard against the return and prevalence of that 


abuse. We hold it to be sound doctrine to maintain that 
just as an individual member of Christ's Church, how- 
ever firmly rooted and grounded in the faith, should still 
daily increase in knowledge, no less than in the spirit 
of obedience, more and more, so may the Church itself 
receive from age to age further and clearer develop- 
ments of the truth ; but then the development in each 
case must be a further development of the truth as it 
is in Jesus, — the same truth which is announced to 
the world in the written word of God, — the same truth 
which was once delivered to the saints. If ever a doc- 
trine or practice be promulgated at variance with the 
tenor of Holy Scripture and primitive Christian wor- 
ship, that doctrine or that practice carries with it its 
own condemnation ; proving itself to have derived its 
origin, not from the well-head of truth, but from the 
deceitfulness of superstition or misbelief. Indeed, this 
same doctrine of development has been employed to 
countenance the wildest novelties of unbridled fanati- 
cism, and cannot fail to open a door for the admission 
among our most sacred truths of all the errors which 
ignorance, superstition, or mistaken zeal or fraud, may 
devise and spread. But on this subject the Author 
needs not to dwell in his own words ; the same per- 
version and misapplication of the sound principle of 
SPIRITUAL PEOGRESS was attempted in early times, and 
was then most ably exposed and refuted by one whose 
maxims on the authority of tradition have of late been 
very often cited as principles from which there is no 
appeal, Vincentius Lirinensis thus records his doc- 



trine, that while Churches and individual Christians 
ought ever to be in a state advancing towards perfec- 
tion in knowledge, faith, and practice, yet no one, 
whether Church or individual, has a right, under co- 
lour of further development, to graft upon the ancient 
faith new doctrines not warranted in Holy Scripture. 

In his work called " Commonitoriura," dilating on 
St. Paul's charge to Timothy, "Keep what is commit- 
ted unto thee," among other suggestions, Vincentius 
says, " What is meant by that which is committed ? 
That which is intrusted to thee, not what has been 
invented by thee ; what thou hast received, not what 
thou hast devised ; an affair, not of ingenuity, but of 
learning ; not of private adoption, but of pv\blic tra- 
dition ; a thing brought to thee, not brought out by 
thee; in which thou must be, not an author, but a 
keeper ; not an originator, but a pursuer ; not leading, 
but following. What was before believed more ob- 
scurely, let that from thy exposition be understood 
more clearly. Let posterity rejoice in understanding 
through thee, what past ages, without understanding, 
revered. Nevertheless, those same thitigs which thou 
didst learn, do thou teach in such a way as that thou 
teach no new doctrine, though thou teach in a new 

"But," continues Vincentius, "peAaps some one 
will say, ' Is there, then, in the Church of Christ no 
progress ? ' Surely there is. Let there be a progress, 
even the greatest. Who would be so envious to man, 
so hateful to God, as to attempt to hinder it 1 Yet it 


must be in such sort as to be in good truth a progress 
in the faith, not a change of it. Of progress it is the 
property that the thing itself should be augmented ; 
of change it is the property that there be an alteration 
from one thing to another. Therefore the understand- 
ing, the science, the wisdom should increase, and be 
made greatly and strenuously progressive, as well in 
individuals, as in all collectively ; as well in the succes- 
sive stages of a man's life, as in the advances of the 
ages and times of the whole Church : but it must be 
only in one kind, in the same doctrines, in the same 


Now, we believe that tp offer prayers to God in the 
name and through the mediation and intercession of 
the Virgin Mary, and to offer prayers to her, whether 
for her intercession, or for her good offices as the dis- 
penser of God's gifts, and as a mediator between God 
and man, are " new inventions," — not the ancient 
doctrines of Christianity, but devices superadded to 
the original truths of salvation ; and withal directly 
repugnant to the Word of God, and the faith and 
practice of our fathers in the primitive Church. We, 
moreover, maintain, that if the Roman Church does 
offer prayer to God through the mediation and interces- 
sion of the Virgin IMary, and does present supplications 
to her for her intercession, or for the gifts of spiritual 
and temporal graces ; and if these religious acts are 
proved to b'e contrary to the plain teaching and spirit 
of Holy Scripture, and to the faith and practice of the 

* Oxford, 1836, p. 53. 


Church through five hundred years ; then no doctrine 
of DEVELOPMENT, even in its widest sense, can cover 
them: for (to adopt the language of some modern 
casuists) these are not latent doctrines and latent prac- 
tices now at length enucleated, whilst the germ of 
them always existed ; they are not tenets long since, 
and from the first, really though unconsciously held by 
the Church ; they are in their very nature contrary to 
the principles of the Gospel, to the teaching of the 
Apostles, and to the faith and practice of the Church 
in its best and purest times : and of these antagonist 
principles we must discard the one or the other ; we 
must either reject the Scriptures and the early Church, 
or we must remain separate from Rome, in so far as 
Rome is the teacher of such errors. 

On the title of the present work it seems de- 
sirable to offer a few words in this place, to prevent, 
any misunderstanding of the principles and of the 
subject of our inquiry. The word " worship" is now 
said to admit of various significations ; sometimes 
implying merely the respect which one human being 
may entertain towards another, and sometimes mean- 
ing the highest religious and divine honour which a 
creature can render to the Supreme Lord of the uni- 
verse : consequently we are warned not to charge the 
Romanists with a spiritual offence in paying " worship" 
to a creature, but rather to attach to their word 
" worship" those ideas only which what they say and 
do naturally and plainly suggests; the same warning 


equally applying to the word " adoration." In the 
justice of this sentiment we acquiesce; and, in one point 
of view, the whole of the first part of the following trea- 
tise is occupied, it is hoped, in a dispassionate inquiry 
into the very nature and kind of worship which is actu- 
ally offered to the Virgin Mary in the Church of Rome. 
In pursuing this subject honestly and reverently, we 
surely need not lie under the suspicion of assuming 
that the cause of the Son of God is to be promoted, 
and his mediatorship and honour exalted, by decrying 
the worth and dignity of his mother. This, we are 
told,^' has been assumed. But whoever may be the per- 
sons involved in that charge, they cannot certainly be 
enlightened members of our communion. No true 
son of the Reformed Church of England can speak dis- 
paragingly or irreverently of the blessed Virgin Mary. 
Were such an one found in our ranks, we should say 
of him, that he knows not what spirit he is of. Our 
Church, in her liturgy, her homilies, her articles, and 
in the works of her standard divines and most approved 
teachers, ever speaks of Saint Mary the blessed Virgin 
in the language of reverence, affection, and gratitude. 
She was a holy Virgin and a holy mother, " highly 
favoured," "blessed among women." The Lord was 
with her, and she was the earthly parent of the 
only Saviour of mankind. She was herself blessed, 
and blessed was the fruit of her womb. Should any 
one entertain a wish to interrupt the testimony of 
every succeeding age, and to check the continuous ful- 

* See Dr. Wiseman's Lectures, vol. ii. p. 92. 


filment of her own prophecy, " All generations shall 
call me blessed," the Church of England would not 
acknowledge that wish to be the legitimate and ge- 
nuine desire of one of her own members. 

But when we are required either to address our sup- 
plications to the Virgin Mary, and to offer prayers to 
God through her mediation and intercession, or else to 
protest against the errors of our fellow-Christians who 
adhere to the faith and practice of Rome in this respect, 
we have no ground for hesitation ; the case offers no 
alternative : our love of unity must yield to our love 
of truth. AVe cannot join in that worship which in 
our conscience we believe to give to a mortal a share 
at least of tlie honour due to God alone, and to exalt 
the Virgin Mary into that office of mediation, advo- 
cacy, and intercession between God and man, which 
the written word of inspiration and the primitive 
Church have taught us to ascribe exclusively to that 
divine Saviour, who was God of the substance of his 
Father, begotten before the worlds ; and Man of the 
substance of his mother, born in the world. 

Page 1 4, line 8, read " who glorious this day triumphest with the angels." 
b'O, note, read We shall hereafter see, 
1 38, line 3,yor avro and ovtov rmd adrS and avToG, 
166 and 2'26,/or Melopotamus read Mehpotamus, 
■21^5 Hue JO, insert and before takes. 
289, line 19, for " because it " read " which." 

300, line 5, insert but be/ore as his. 

301, line 30, insert one after any. 
312, line i,dek the. 

337, line 1, read " heresy supposes her to be." 

370, line ll,/orha\'e read has. 

376, line 11, tite referenm §§ should be omitted, and be pUvxd after 

Fabricius in the sixth tine of the Notes, 
384, line 3, ybc "woman" read "women." 







The worship of the Virgin Mary in the Church of 
Rome may be conveniently examined under the fol- 
lowing heads : 

First, prayers offered to the Almighty in her name, 
for her merits, through her mediation, advocacy, and 

Secondly, prayers to herself, beseeching her to em- 
ploy her good offices of intercession with the Eternal 
Father, and with her Son, in behalf of her petitioners. 

Thirdly, prayers to her for her protection from all 
evils, spiritual and bodily ; for her guidance and aid, 
and for the influences of her grace. 

To which must be added the ascription of divine 
praises to her, in pious acknowledgment of her attri- 
butes of power, wisdom, goodness, and mercy, and of 
her exalted state above all the spirits of life and glory 
in heaven-, and foT her share iu the redemption of 



the world, and the benefits conferred by her on the 
individual worshipper.* 

Our examination into the worship of the Virgin 
under these several heads will be most properly and 
most satisfactorily carried on by first considering the 
prescribed services and authorized formularies of the 
Church of Rome in her Missals and Breviaries. In 
these documents, undoubtedly, we do not find the same 
■ astonishing excesses of unqualified divine worship as 
offer themselves in the works of her canonized saints 
and accredited teachers, and in the devotional books 
still in general use among her members ; but we find 
the same principles, which are only expanded, and 
amplified, and carried out (as it is called) to their full 
development by other hands. Indeed, the impression 
will scarcely fail to be made on every reflecting mind, 
after a general survey of the worship of the Virgin 
under its various aspects, that however lamentable may 
be those extravagant excesses into which the votaries 
of the Virgin Mary have run, yet there are few, per- 
haps none, of their unequivocal ascriptions of divine 
homage to her which they may not justify by an appeal 
to the authorized Ritual of the Church of Rome. 


Under the first head the Roman Missal and Bre- 
viary supply an abundant store of examples, some 
more than others encroaching on the mediatorial office 
of the Son of God, the one Mediator between God 
and man. To establish the fact, indeed, one or two 

* This ascription of divine praises to the Virgin pervades all parts 
of her worship. 


instances would be sufficient; but, beyond this, the 
constant and incessant recourse to the same advocacy 
of the Virgin cannot but suggest the painful idea 
of a want of confidence in the sole mediation of our 
Lord himself, or a want of sure reliance on his pro- 
mise, that God will not reject any one, however hum- 
ble or unworthy, who comes to Him by his Son. 

In the Post-communion on the day of the Assump- 
tion this prayer is offered : " We, partakers of the 
heavenly board, implore thy clemency, O Lord our 
God, that we, who celebrate the Assumption of the 
Mother of God, may by her intercession be freed 
from all impending evils. Through." 

The following are varieties of the same addresses to 
the Throne of Grace : 

" We beseech Thee, O Lord, let the glorious inter- 
cession of the blessed and glorious ever Virgin Mary 
protect us and bring us to life eternal. Through the 
Lord." * 

" Pardon, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the offences of 
thy servants, that we, who cannot please Thee of our 
own acts, may be saved by the intercession of the 
Mother of thy Son, our Lord, who liveth with Thee.'^f 

On the vigil of the Epiphany this prayer is offered 
at the Mass : " Let this communion, O Lord, purge us 
from guilt, and by the intercession of the blessed Vir- 
gin, Mother of God, let it make us partakers of the 
heavenly cure." 

To which may be added the following : 

* Vern. civ. — The references to Vem., JEst., Aut., Hiem.j are 
made to the Roman Breviary published at Norwich, with the Pope's 
approbation, by the Rev. F. C. Husenbeth, in the year J 830, in four 
volumes, containing the services of the four quarters of the year. 

t Vern. clxix. 


" Grant, we beseech Thee, Lord God, that we thy 
servants may enjoy perpetual health of body and mind, 
and by the glorious intercession of the blessed Mary 
ever Virgin be freed from present sorrow, and enjoy 
eternal gladness. Through the Lord."* 

" O God, who hast granted to mankind the rewards 
of eternal life by the fruitful virginhood of the blessed 
Mary, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may have ex- 
perience of her intercession, through whom we were 
deemed worthy to obtain our Lord Jesus Christ, thy 
Son, as the author of life, who liveth with Thee." f 

" O God, who didst deign to choose the virgin 
palace of the blessed Mary wherein to dwell, grant, 
we beseech Thee, that Thou mayest make us, being 
protected by her defence, joyfully present in her com- 
memoration, Thou who livest and reignest with God 
the Father."! 

" By the Virgin-Mother may the Lord grant us sal- 
vation and peace." § 

"By the prayers and merits of the blessed Mary 
ever Virgin, and all saints, may the Lord bring us to 
the kingdom of heaven." || 

On the second Sunday after Easter we find in 
the service of the Mass a still more lamentable 
departure from true Christian worship, where the 
Church of Rome declares that the offerings made to 
God at the Lord's Supper were made for the honour 
of the Virgin : " Having received, O Lord, these helps 
of our salvation, grant, we beseech Thee, that by the 
patronage of the blessed Mary ever Virgin, we may 
be everywhere protected, in veneration of whom IF 
we have made these offerings to thy Majesty.'' 

* Vem. cxlvi. t Vera, clxvii. ^ Vem. clxv. 

§ Vern. cxlviii. || Vem. cxlvii. •[[ In eujus veneratione. 


To cite only one more example under this bead : On 
the octave of Easter in the Secret, at the Mass, the in- 
tercession of the Virgin is made to appear as essential 
a cause of our peace and blessedness as is the propi- 
tiation of Christ ; or rather, the two are represented 
as joint concurrent causes, as though the office of the 
Saviour himself were confined to propitiation, exclu- 
sive altogether of intercession, and the office of inter- 
cession were assigned to the Virgin : " By thy pko- 
piTiATiON, O Lord, and by the intercession of the 
blessed Mary ever Virgin, may this offering be pro- 
fitable to us for our perpetual and present prosperity 
and peace." 


The second head embraces instances of a still 
further departure from Christian truth and primi- 
tive worship, when the prayer is no longer addressed 
only to God, but is offered to the Virgin herself, im- 
ploring her to intercede for her supplicants, yet still 
asking nothing beyond her intercession. The Bre- 
viaries so abound with these prayers throughout as to 
make any selection difficult : 

" Blessed Mother, Virgin undefiled, glorioTis Queen 
of the world, intercede for us with the Lord.* Blessed 
Mother of God, Mary, perpetual Virgin, the Temple 
of the Lord, the Holy Place of the Holy Spirit, thou 
alone without example hast pleased our Lord Jesus 
Christ : pray for the people, mediate for the clergy, 
intercede for the female sex who are under a vow." | 

In the form of prayer called Litanice Lauritance, 
between the most solemn prayers addressed to the 
ever-blessed Trinity, and to the Lamb of God that 

* Autum. cxlviii. t Vern. clxiii. 


taketh away the sin of the world, more than forty 
addresses to the Virgin are inserted, invoking her 
under as many varieties of title : " Holy Mother of 
God, pray for us. Mirror of Justice, Cause of our 
Joy, Mystical Rose, Tower of David, Tower of Ivory, 
House of Gold, Ark of the Covenant, Gate of Hea- 
ven, Refuge of Sinners, Queen of Angels, Queen of 
All Saints, &c., pray for us." * 

The following invocation seems to stand midway 
between these appeals to the Virgin merely for her 
intercession, and direct prayers to her for blessings, 
temporal and spiritual, at her own hands ; it will 
therefore be more safe to cite it under this head. 

" Hail, O Queen, Mother of Mercy, our Life, 
Sweetness, and Hope, hail. To thee we sigh, groan- 
ing and weeping in this valley of tears. Come then, 
our Advocate, turn those compassionate eyes of thine 
on us ; and after this exile shew to us Jesus, the 
blessed fruit of thy womb, O merciful ! O pious ! O 
sweet Virgin Mary ! 

" Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may 
be rendered worthy of the promises of Christ." f 


But, unhappily for Christian truth, in the appointed 
Roman Ritual we find repeated examples of prayer 
addressed directly to the Virgin for benefits at her 
hand, spiritual and temporal, without any reference to 
her prayers, without specifying that her petitions are all 
that the supplicant seeks. It is no reasonable answer 
to affirm, that all intended in these forms is to ask for 
her advocacy and intercession ; the mass of the people 
* Vern. ccxxxix. +- iEst. ISl. 


will not, do not, cannot regard it in that light. It is 
asserted, (as for example by Cardinal du Perron,*) that 
when the Church of Rome guides and directs her sons 
and daughters thus to pray, without any limitation, for 
specific benefits at the hands of the Virgin-Mother, 
they are not taught to look for the blessings as her 
gifts, and at her own disposal ; but that the words " by 
praying for us" are always to be understood. That 
this however is practically not so, we shall have too 
plain evidence when we come to examine the full de- 
velopment of the Virgin's worship in the works of 
divines, and in the present practice of the people. And 
can it be right and safe to lay such snares for the con- 
science ? If her prayers are the sole object of the peti- 
tioner's invocation, why set him, in the solemn services 
of the Church, an example of prayers which make no 
allusion to her intercession, but ask as directly and 
unequivocally for her aid and blessing, as the suppli- 
cations addressed to the Supreme Being ask for his ? 
In an act, of all human acts the most solemn and holy, 
can recourse be had to such refined distinctions and 
subtleties, without awful and imminent spiritual dan- 
ger?! Among many other invocations of a similar 

* Replique a la Rep. du Roy de la G. Bretagne. Paris, 1620, 
p. 970. 

f In weighing the import of these addresses, we look especially to 
the nature of the boon for which the petitioner supplicates, and we 
find it often a gift which God alone can bestow, and which He has 
promised to grant to all who seek it at his hand in the name of his 
blessed Son. The refinement of Bellarmin and others seems still more 
subtle, and practically unintelligible to the large body of worshippers. 
In order to avoid the objection against the invocation of saints, that of 
necessity it implies omnipresence, they have recourse to the assump- 
tion, for which neither Scripture nor reason suggests any colour of argu- 
ment, that God himself, hearing the prayer addressed to a saint, com- 


character this frequently recurs, " Deem me worthy 
to praise thee, O hallowed Virgin ; give to me strength 
against thy enemies." * 

The following seems to be among the most fa- 
vourite addresses to the Virgin : 

"Hail, Star of the Sea, and kind Mother of God, 
and ever Virgin ! happy Gate of Heaven ! taking 
that ' Hair from the mouth of Gabriel ; do thou esta- 
blish us in peace, changing the name of Eve. Do 
thou for the accused loose their bonds, for the blind 
bear forth a light, drive away our evils, demand for 
us all good things. Shew that thou art a mother. 
Let Him who endured for us to be thy Son through 
thee receive our prayers. O excellent Virgin, meek 
among all, do thou make us meek and chaste, freed 
FROM FAULT ; make our life pure, prepare for us a safe 
journey, that, beholding Jesus, we may always rejoice 
together. Praise be to God the Father, glory to 
Christ most high, and to the Holy Ghost : one honour 
to the Three. Amen." 

In the body of this hymn there is reference un- 
doubtedly to an application to be made to the Son ; 
but can it be fitting that such sentiments, as are here 
suggested to the Virgin for her to entertain, should 
exist in any created being toM^ards God ? Can such a 
call upon her to shew her power and influence over 
the eternal Son of the eternal Father be fitting in the 
hearts and in the mouths of us, poor sinners, for whom 
He left his Father's glory, and came down on earth to 
die. " Shew that thou art a mother." We are aware 

municates a knowledge of it to that saint, and then receives back from 
'him the prayer of the human petitioner. 

* iEst. clvi. JEst, cxxxvi. 


that, in later times, some versions of the hymn* have 
translated this passage as though the prayer to Mary 
■was, that she would by her maternal good offices in 
our behalf prove to us that she is our mother. We 
rejoice to see any such indication of a feeling of im- 
propriety in the sentiment in its plain and obvious 
meaning : but the change is inadmissible ; for not only 
is it contrary to the whole drift, and plain sense, and 
meaning of the passage, but it is altogether at variance 
with the interpretation put upon it both before and 
since the Reformation. In the second line she is 
addressed as the Mother of God ; the Lord Jesus is 
immediately mentioned in the very next line, and 
through the entire stanza, as her Son ; and the prayer 
is, that through her that Being, who endured to be 
her Son, would hear the prayers of the worshippers: 
and this obvious grammatical and logical meaning, 
" Shew thyself to be His mother," is the sense attached 
to it, not incidentally, but of set purpose before the 
Reformation. In a workf dedicated to the " Youth of 

* " Faites voir que vous eWs veritablement notre mere." Nou- 
veau Recueil de Cantiques, p. 853. — In the English book called The 
Prince of Wales' Manual (1688) the lines are thus rendered : 

" Shew us a mother's care : 
To Him convey our prayer. 
Who for our sake put on 
The title of thy Son." 

It is curious to find that in the present day both these senses are 
attached to the phrase. The Bishop of Friburg, 1832, thus addresses 
Mary : " Mother of the Saviour God, and our own, shew that you are 
both the one and the other — Monstra te esse matrem — and cause us to 
experience the sweet effects of your power and your motherly good- 
ness." [Mariolatry, p. 118. Filler, Imprimeur de I'Eveche.] 

+ This work was printed by the famous W. de Worde, at the sign 
of the Sun, in Fleet Street, 1508 ; and the passage occurs in p. 33, b. 


Great Britain studious of good morals," and written 
expressly for the purpose of explaining these parts of 
the Ritual according to the use of Sarum, the inter- 
pretation put on this passage is thus expressed, " Shew 
thyself to be A mother, that is, by appeasing thy 
Son ; and let thy Son take our prayers through thee, 
who endured for us miserable sinners to be thy Son." 
la the English Primer of our Lady, (of which a MS. 
copy is now in the Rectory of Draycot, near Stone,) 
the verse is thus rendered : 

Shew thyself to be a mother. 

So that He accept our petition, 
Which for our sake, before all other, 

Was contented to be thy Son. 

Nor can any other meaning be attached to the trans- 
lation of the words, as given by Cardinal du Perron in 
the passage * above referred to. The other inter- 
pretation does not appear to have had a place in any 
one book of former days. It is impossible not to see in 
this the prototype, in softened colours, of Bonaven- 
tura's broad and shocking summons of the Virgin, to 
exert her maternal authority and comm^and her Son, 
" By the right of a mother command thy Son." 

Another prayer in the Breviary runs thus : " Under 
thy protection we take refuge, Holy Mother of God. 
Despise not our supplications in our necessities ; but 

This is by no means the only book of the kind : one is printed at 
Basle, and another at Cologne, in 150i. They are evidently drawn 
from some common source, but are not copies of the same work. The 
Cologne edition tells us, it was the reprint of a familiar commentary 
on the hymns, printed long ago. 

* " Monstre quetues mere, receive par toy nos priores Celuy, qui 
ne pour nous a eu agreeable d'etre tien." 


from all dangers do thou ever deliver us, O glorious 
and blessed Virgin." * 

Let us suppose the object of these addresses to be 
changed ; and, instead of the Virgin, let us substitute 
the name of the ever-blessed God most high, the eternal 
Father of us all, and we shall find the very words here 
addressed to the Virgin offered to Him, and spoken 
of Him in some of the most affecting prayers and 
praises recorded in the Bible.f 

But another hymn in the office of the Virgin ad- 

* JEst. cxlvi. 

+ The identity of the prayers offered to the Virgin with those of- 
fered, either in the words of inspiration or in the Roman Ritual, to the 
Almighty Himself, becomes very striking, if we lay the prayers to the 
Virgin side by side with the original language of the Roman Liturgy, 
and the only translation of the Scriptures authorized by that Church : 
and it is an identity (as may be seen in this hymn and the hymn 
next cited) not in the form only, but in the substance of the prayers 
offered and the grace sought. 

^ , „ „. , , ^-. . In the same Ritual, or in the 

In the Roman Ritual the Virgm „., , ,, », - ,, 

. , , , , * Bible, the Almighty is ad- 

is thus addressed : 11^.1 

dressed thus : 

Sub tuum prtesidium confu- Domine, firmamentum meum 

gimus; et refugium meum, ad te con- 

fugi, — Ps. xvii. 1 . cxlii. 1 1 . 
Nostras deprecationes ne despi- Ne despexeris deprecationem 

cias in necessitatibus. meam. — Ps. liv. 1 . 

Sed a pericuUs cunctis libera Libera, Domine, animam servi 

lies. tui ab omnibus pericuUs inferni. 

Hiem. ccvi. 
Libera nos a malo. 

Lord's Prayer. 
A periculo mortis libera nos, 
Domine. — Hiem. cciv. 
Tu nos ab hoste protege. Eripe me de inimicis meis, Do- 

mine. — Ps. cxliii. 1. 
Et hora mortis suscipe. Suscipe, Domine, servumtuum. 

Hiem. ccvi. 


dressed in part to the Saviour himself, and partly to 
the Virgin Mary, is to us still more revoltiug. The 
Redeemer is only asked to remember his mortal birth ; 
no blessing is here sought at his hands in prayer ; his 
protection is not the subject of the petition ; no de- 
liverance of our souls at the hour of death is sought 
from Ilim ; for these blessings, and these divine mer- 
cies, supplication is made exclusively to the Virgin. 
Can such a mingled prayer, can such a contrast 
in prayer, be the genuine fruit of that Gospel 
which invites and commands us to seek in prayer 
to God for all we need of temporal and eternal 
good, in the name and for the sake of his blessed 

"O Author of our salvation, remember that once, 
being born of a spotless Virgin, Thou didst take the 
form of our body. Mary, Mother of Grace, Mo- 
ther of Mercy, do thou protect us from the enemy, 
and receive us at the hour of death. Glory to Thee, 
O Loi-d, who wast born of a Virgin, with the Father, 
and the Holy Spirit, through eternal ages. Amen." 


We must now refer to another example of the 
practice of the Church of Rome in her authorized and 
prescribed Ritual. The Rubric of the Common Prayer 
of the Church of England directs that at the end of 
every psalm, throughout the year, shall be repeated 
" Glory be to the Father," &c. In the Roman Bre- 
viary also we find this Rubric : " This verse Gloria is 
always said at the end of all psalms, except it be other- 

* JEst. cxlv. There is another reading of this li_ymn, but it does 
not affect the sense. 


wise noted."* The object proposed from of old by the 
Christian Church in concluding each psalm by an 
ascription of glory to the eternal Trinity, seems to have 
been to lead the worshipper to apply the psalm in its 
spirit to the work of our salvation, accomplished by the 
three blessed Persons in the Godhead. The Church of 
Rome by substituting, instead of the " Gloria," anthems 
in praise of the Virgin (on the feast of her Assump- 
tion, for example), does all that can be done to fix 
the thoughts of the worshipper on Mary, and to apply 
the spirit of the psalm to her ; a practice which sanc- 
tions the excesses into which Bonaventura and others 
have run in their departures from the purity and inte- 
grity of primitive worship. In some cases the anthem 
to the Virgin is so interwoven with the psalm as to 
render the insertion of the " Gloria " between them, at 
the very least, unnatural and forced : and where that is 
not the case, — where the Gloria might be inserted, — the 
annexation of the anthem has a tendency to seduce 
the thoughts of the worshipper from the truths con- 
tained in the inspired psalm, and to fix them upon 
Mary and her asserted Assumption ; changing the 
Church's address from the Eternal Being alone in- 
voked by the Psalmist, to one who, though a virgin 
blessed among women, is a creature of God's hand. 
On comparing, however, the Office of the Assumption 
and the " Lesser Office of the Virgin," we cannot but 
infer that, in the former, the Gloria was intended to 
be altogether omitted ; because in the latter, though 
there are similar anthems to the Virgin annexed to 
several psalms, the Gloria is inserted between them. 
This would, indeed, be some degrees worse ; but in 

* iEst. 3. 


either case the practice is truly deplorable. We 
need only cite one or two examples. At the conclu- 
sion of the 8th psalm, we find two anthems annexed 
thus : " O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name 
in all the worM."~Ant. " The Holy Mother of God is 
exalted above the choir of angels to the heavenly 
realms. The gates of Paradise are opened to us by 
thee,* [0 Virgin,] who gloriest this day triumphant 
with the angels." 

Thus, to the last verse of the 95th, (in the Hebrew 
and English versions the 96th,) an anthem is imme- 
diately appended : 

" He shall judge the earth in equity, and the people 
with his truth." — Ant. " Rejoice, O Virgin Mary, 
Thou alone hast destroyed all heresies in the whole 
world. Deem me woi-thy to praise thee, hallowed 
Virgin. Give me strength against thy enemies." 

In the 86th (87th) psalm, the anthem is so inter- 
woven with the psalm as to exclude the probability of 
any intention to insert the Gloria between them. The 
Vulgate translation of the last verse differs entirely 
from the English, but without affecting the argument. 
" As the habitation of all who rejoice is in Thee. 
As the habitation of all us who rejoice is in Thee, 
Holy Mother of God." 

Cardinal du Perron argues, that at the altar, in the 
office of the Mass, prayer is not made directly to any 
saint, but only obliquely, the address being made 
always to God. But if, in other parts of the service, 
prayers are offered directly to the Virgin, it is difficult 
to see what is gained by such a plea. Surely it is 
trifling in things concerning the soul, to make such 

* Quse gloriosa. 


distinctions. If, for example, priests about to offi- 
ciate can address a prayer directly to the Virgin 
FOR HEB, ASSISTANCE, that she would Stand by tbem, 
and BY HEE GRACE enable them to offer a worthy sa- 
crifice, how does this become a less direct prayer to 
her, because it is not repeated during the service of 
the Mass ? Such pleas seem to intimate a kind of 
misgiving, in those who make them, as to the lawful- 
ness of any addresses of the kind. The following is 
called, in the Roman Breviary, " A Prayer to the 
Blessed Virgin Mary before the celebration of the 
Mass ;" and is immediately followed by another, called 
" A Prayer to the Male or Female Saint* whose feast 
is celebrated on that day," from whose merits the 
priest professes to derive his confidence, and to whose 
honour and glory he declares that he offers the holy 

" O Mother of pity and mercy, most Blessed Virgin 
Mary, I a miserable and unworthy sinner flee to thee 
with my whole heart and affection ; and I pray thy 
sweetest pity, that as thou didst stand by thy sweetest 
Son upon the cross, so thou wouldest vouchsafe of thy 
clemency to stand by me a miserable priest, and by all 
priests, who here and in all the holy Church offer Ilim 
this day, that aided by thy grace we may be enabled 
to offer a worthy and acceptable victim in the sight of 
the most high and undivided Trinity. Amen." 

" O Holy One, [Sancte vel Sancta,] behold, I a mise- 
rable sinner, deriving confidence from thy merits, 
now offer the most holy Sacrament of the body and 
blood of our Lord Jesus Christ for thy honour and 
GLORY. I humbly and devoutly pray thee that thou 
wouldest deign to intercede for me to-day, that I iTiay 

* Ad Sanctum, vel Sanctam, &c. Oratio, Hiem. p. cexxxiii. 


be enabled to offer so great a sacrifice worthily and 
acceptably, and eternally to praise Him with thee and 
all his elect, and that I may live with Him for ever." 


The intention of the author of the present work 
being to confine himself and his readers closely to 
one subject, the worship of the Virgin Mary in the 
Church of Rome, he will not be tempted here to 
speak on the nature of Indulgences, nor will he 
make any further comment on the following prayer 
than seems necessary to convey some knowledge of 
the circumstances under which it now appears. 

The Roman Breviary from which these quotations 
are made was published in England, with the express 
authority of the then Pope himself, in the year 1830. 
Pope Leo X. lived more than three hundred years 
ago, and yet the following announcement stands at 
the present day in that Breviary immediately before 
the Absolutions and Benedictions to be said before 
the readings in certain Offices : " To those who de- 
voutly recite the following prayer after performing 
service. Pope Leo X. hath granted indulgence or 
pardon [indulsit] for defects and faults in celebrating 
it, contracted by human frailty." 

Even were all those distinctions admitted, which 
are so frequently urged by one body of men, and 
declared by others to be unsatisfactory and inadmis- 
sible, with regard to the different kinds of honour in- 
tended to be ascribed to God, and to the Virgin, 
and the Saints, (corresponding with the Latria, the 
Hyperdulia, and the Dulia, to which we have 
already referred,) can such a joint ascription of 


" everlasting praise, honour, and glory from every 
creature " be safely made, as we find in the following 
prayers ? 

" To the most Holy and Undivided Trinity, to the 
manhood of our crucified Lord Jesus Christ, to the 
fniitful purity of fiie most 1)16886(1 and most glorious 
ever Virgin Mary, and to the whole body of all the 
Saints, be everlasting praise, honour, virtue, and glory 
from every creature, and to us forgiveness of all sins, 
through the boundless ages of ages. Amen." 

" Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, Which 
bore the Son of the eternal Father." " And blessed 
are the paps which gave suck to Christ the Lord." 
" Our Father." " Hail Mary." * 

Whatever association may be raised in our minds 
by the circumstance of such an announcement being 
published in our own country in the nineteenth cen- 
tury, by wliicli a bishop of Rome in the sixteenth 
century granted pardon, (or indulgence) for faults 
arising from human frailty to all priests for all ages 
to come, the subject does not fall immediately within 
the scope of this treatise. But, surely, to join the 
Holy Trinity with the Virgin Mary and the entire 
aggregate of the Saints in one and the same ascrip- 
tion of eternal praise, honour, and glory, is as utterly 
subversive of primitive worship as it is repugnant to 
the plainest sense of Scripture, and derogatory to the 
dignity and majesty of that Supreme Being who will 
not share his honour with another.f 

* Hiem. after the "General Rubrics." 

+ An attempt has been made to justify this mingled ascription of 
gloi'y to God, the Virgin, and the Saints, by a reference to that passage 
m tYve ■Epistle to the lleliiews, c. xii. v. gg, in which the inspired 




Such is the result of our inquiries into the author- 
ized and prescribed forms of worship in the Church of 
Rome, in every part of the world where tYie supre- 
macy of that Church is acknowledged. Can it be 
matter of wonder that individuals high in honour with 
that Church have carried out those same principles of 
worship to far greater lengths ? The principle should 
undoubtedly be ever present to our mind, of fixing 
upon a Church itself only what is to he found in its 
canons, decrees, and formularies, and authoritative 
teaching ; and of that which directly contravenes the 
Gospel rule and primitive faith and practice, far more 
than enough is found in the authorized and prescribed 
Liturgies of Rome to compel all who adhere to the 
Gospel and the example of primitive times to withhold 
their consent from her worship. But, with this principle 
steadily before us, justice and prudence combined re- 
quire us to ti-ace for ourselves the practical workings 
of the system. And, indeed, the deplorable excesses 
to which priests, bishops, cardinals, and canonized 
saints have run in the worship of the Virgin Mary, 
might well induce upright and enhghtened Roman 
Catholics to look anxiously for themselves to their 
foundations; to determine, with tender caution doubt- 
less and pious care, yet still with an eye bent honestly 

vwiter enumerates indiscriminately those blessed spirits with whom 
the faithful will be united in heaven, — just men made perfect, angels, 
the Redeemer, the everlasting Father; but in the only point now 
under our consideration there is not the shadow of resemblance be- 
tween the two cases. 


and only on the truth, whether the corruption be not 
in the well-head? whether the stream do not flow 
from the very fountain itself already impregnated with 
the poison ? whether the prayers authorized and di- 
rected to be offered to the Virgin in public worship 
be not in very truth at variance with the first prin- 
ciples of the Gospel — faith in one God the Giver 
of every good, and in one Mediator and Intercessor 
between God and man, the Lord Jesus himself alone, 
whose blood cleanseth from all sin ? in a word, to 
weigh well and to reflect, whether all the aberrations 
of her children in this department of religious duty 
have not their prototype in the ordinances, the injunc- 
tions, the precepts, and practical example of their 
Church itself? If we look to principles, as we have 
already observed, it will be hard to find any of the 
most unequivocal ascriptions of divine worship made 
to the Virgin Mary by her most zealous votaries, for 
which those worshippers would not be able to appeal 
in justification, and not without reason, to the author- 
ized Ritual of the Church of Rome. 

Before we proceed to a review of the practical 
workings of the system, two considerations seem na- 
turally to suggest themselves. 

First, If it was really intended that the invocation 
of the Virgin should be exclusively confined to re- 
quests that she would pray and intercede by prayer 
for her petitioners, why should language be addressed 
to her which in its plain, obvious, grammatical, and 
common-sense interpretation conveys the form of di- 
rect prayers to her for benefits at her own disposal ? 

Secondly, If the Church of Rome had intended that 
her members, when they suppliantly invoke the Vir- 

c 2 


gin Mary and have i-ecourse to her aid, should offer to 
her direct and immediate prayers that she would 
grant temporal and spiritual benefits, to he dispensed 
to mortals on earth at her own will, and by lier own 
authority and power, in that case what words could 
that Church have prescribed to the petitioners, what 
expressions could be put into their mouth, which 
would have conveyed that intention more explicitly 
and unequivocally than the very words which have 
been adopted, and sanctioned, and prescribed? 





Few probably can long be engaged in any wide and 
varied researches into the actual state of the worship 
of the Virgin Mary in the Church of Rome, without 
being surprised at finding the prevalence of such a 
mass of corruption and error as they had before no 
conception of. The extraordinary excesses to which 
that adoration has been carried, not by obscure and 
illiterate or fanatical individuals, but by celebrated doc- 
tors, prelates, and saints, seem to introduce us to 
another religion, for the very germ even of which we 
seek in the Gospel in vain. If, indeed, we could 
with justice regard such palpable instances of the 
worship of the Virgin, in its most objectionable 
form, as the marks of ages long past away, and of 
times less enlightened than our own, we might draw 
a veil over them, and hide them from our sight, 
rather than contemplate, in aiiy persons calling them- 
selves by the name of Christ, such de})artures from 
primitive truth and worship. But when we find the 
solemn addresses of the present chief authorities in 
the Roman Church, nay, the epistles of the Sovereign 
Pontiff himself, countenancing, cherishing, and encou- 
raging the same superstitions, it is no longer a matter 
of choice, but it becomes an imperative duty in those 
who would rescue or preserve the truth from such cor- 


ruptions, to lay bare the facts of the case, without ex- 
aggeration and without disguise. 

Before we proceed to ascertain from the testimony 
of men, whose writings are in a measure stamped 
with authority, the real doctrine and practice of the 
Church of Rome, one more of the many instances 
meeting us on every side, which characterize her pub- 
lic worship, seems to require some notice. The service 
here alluded to appears to take a sort of middle station 
between the enjoined formularies, and the devotions 
of individuals, or family worship. On the one hand, 
it partakes far too much of a public character to be 
considered in the light of private religious exercises ; on 
the other, it seems to lack that authority which would 
rank it among the liturgical offices of the Church. 
The service is performed with more than ordinary ce- 
remony in the churches ; a priest presides, the Host 
is presented to the adoration of the people, and a 
sermon is j^reached by an appointed minister : it is 
performed (in Paris for example) every evening through 
the entire month of May, and is celebrated expressly 
in honour of the Virgin ; for not only is the Satur- 
day in every week (with some exceptions) dedicated 
to her, but in every year the month of May is devoted 
to her, and is called by way of eminence " Mary's 
month." Temporary altars are raised to her on the 
occasion, surrounded by flowers and evergi-eens, and 
profusely adorned with garlands and drapery ; her 
image usually standing in a conspicuous place before 
the altar. Societies or guilds are formed chiefly for the 
celebration of the Virgin's praises, who bear the chief 
parts in these religious festivities ; and in some of the 
churches the effect both to the eye and to the ear is 
very imposing, in correspondence with the prepa- 


One thing is wanting — the proper object of Chris- 
tian worship. A collection of religious poems, pub- 
lished professedly for the fraternities in Paris, and 
used in the churches there on those occasions, at the 
close of the preface is dedicated " To the glory of 
Jesus and of Mary." In this collection many of the 
hymns are addressed directly and exclusively to the 
Virgin : some without either a shadow of reference 
to the Son of God, the only Saviour, or any allusion 
whatever to the God of Christians. 

The following is a literal translation of one of the 
hymns entire : 

" Around the altars of Mary Let us her children press ; 

To that mother so endeared Let us address the sweetest prayers. 

Let a lively and holy mirth Animate us on this holy day. 

There exists no sadness ¥<x a heart full of her love. 

Let us adorn this sanctuary with flowers, Let us deck her revered 

altars ; 
Let us redouble our efforts to please her. Be this month consecrated 

to her. 
Let the perfume of these crowns Form a delicious incense, 
Which, ascending even to her throne. May carry to her both our 

hearts and our prayers. 
Let the holy name of Mary Be unto us a name of salvation ; 
Let our softened soul Ever pay to her a sweet tribute of love, 
Let us join the choir of angels The more to celebrate her beauty; 
And may our songs of praise Resound in eternity. 
holy Virgin ! 0, our Mother ! Watch . over us from the height of 

heaven ! 
And when, from this sojourn of misery. We present our prayers to you, 
sweet, divine Mary I Lend an ear to our sighs ; 
And, after this life, Make us to taste of deathless pleasures."* 

In the case of the prescribed prayers of the Church 
addressed to the Virgin, we have already suggested 

* Nouveau Recueil de Cantiques a I'usage des Confreries des Pa- 
roisses de Paris. Paris, 1839, p. 175. 


the propriety of trying the real import, the true in- 
tent and meaning", and genuine spirit of the address, bj 
substituting the name of the Saviour in. place of the 
Virgin's ; and if the same words, without any change 
of ineanino' or substance, form a prayer fit to be offered 
by sinners to the Redeemer of the world, then asVmg, 
Can this be right ? The apph'cation of the same test 
may most beneficially be made here, as well as in the 
case of numerous other of the prayers now offered by 
Roman Catholics to the Virgin. Suppose, instead of 
making these offerings of prajer, and praise, and self- 
devotion in the month of May to Mary, they were 
offered to our blessed Lord on the festival of his 
Nativitj, would thej not contain an act of faith in 
him, as our Saviour and our God ? 

ll is \aToaeTi'ia\Ae lo fed among ftiese Yiymns striking 
proof that those corruptions of the faith, which (as 
we shall immediately see) in former years drew the 
contrast in favour of the Virgin, and against God, 
with reference to the attribute of mercj, are fully 
responded to by her worshippers now. The hymn 
on the Assumption (p. 183) represents the great 
and only Potentate, the God of mercy and loving- 
Ifindness, as Mary's hushand, full of rage and fury, 
who must be softened by her influence into tender- 
ness and sweetness towards her votaries. The canticle 
ends with a stanza, here rendered word for word ; 
*' Vovichsafe Mary on this day To hear our sighs, 

And to second our desires. Vouchsafe Mary on this day 

To receive our incense^ our love. 
" Calm the eage Of xhy heavenly husband. 

Let him shew himself kind To all those that are thine ! 
Of thy heavenlj husband Calm the rage ! 

Let his heart he softened towards ns." * 

* P. 18a. 


Melancholy as it is to find such expressions comiug 
from the lips of those who profess and call themselves 
Christians, children of that God whose mercy is as 
boundless as his power, disciples of Him who invites 
us to go boldly to the throne of grace ourselves, in the 
assurance that our heavenly Father loveth us; it must 
be confessed that the same views present themselves 
to us on every side, the same corruption seems to 
have gradually, but at length successfully, pervaded 
the entire system. 

The course of our argument now leads us to ex- 
amine the works of some among the canonized saints 
and acknowledged doctors of the Church of Rome. 


Among the most remarkable monuments of past 
years are the devotional works of Bonaventura. He 
was no ordinary man ; and the circumstances under 
which his writings were recommended to the world 
are indeed memorable. It is difficult to conceive 
how any Church can give the impress of its own name 
and approval in a fuller or more unequivocal manner 
to the productions of any human being, than by the 
process by which the Church of Rome has stamped 
her authority on the works of this her canonized saint. 

In the " Acta Sanctorum'"'' it is stated, that Bona- 
ventura was born in 1221, and died in 1274. He was 
of the order of St. Francis, and passed through all 
degrees of ecclesiastical dignities, short only of the 
pontifical throne itself. Pope Clement IV., in 1265, 
oifered to him the Archbishopric of York, which he 

* P. 183. Antwerp, 1723; July 14, pp. 811—823. 


refused ; but Clement's successor, Gregory X., elevated 
him to the dignity of Cardinal-Bishop. His biogra- 
pher expresses his astonishment that the memory of 
such a man should have so long remained buried with 
his body, adding that the tardiness of his honours was 
compensated by their splendour. More than two cen- 
turies after his death, his claims to canonization were 
urged upon Sixtus IV. ; and that Pope, in the ele- 
venth year of his reign, invested him with the dignity 
of a saint. The diploma bears date " xviii Kalend. 
Maias," i. e. April 14, 1482. 

Before a mortal is canonized by the Pope, it is 
usually required that miracles wrought by him, or upon 
him, or at his tomb, be proved to the satisfaction of 
the Ronxan Court.* We need not dwell on the nature 
of an inquiry into a matter of fact alleged to have 
been done by an individual two hundred years be- 
fore, and whose memory (as his biographer complains) 
had lain buried with his corpse. In this case, among the 
miracles specified, it is recorded that on one occasion, 
when he was filled with awe at the celebration of the 
Lord's Supper, God, by an angel, took a particle of the 
consecrated bread from the hands of the priest, and 
gently placed it in the holy man's mouth. But with 
these transactions our present purpose does not lead 
us to interfere, except so far as to ascertain from them 
the degree of authority with which Bonaventura must 
be invested by Roman Catholics as a teacher and in- 
structor authorized and appointed by their Church. 

The case stands thus : — Pope Sixtus IV. declares in 
his diploma, that the Proctor of the order of Minors 
proved, by a dissertation on the passage of St. John, 

* See " Acta Sanctorum/' as above quoted. 


" There are three that bear record in heaven," that the 
blessed Trinity had testified to the fact of Bonaventura 
being a Saint in heaven : the Father proving it by the 
attested miracles ; the Son, by the wisdom of his doc- 
trine ; the Holy Spirit, by the excellency of his life. 
The Pontiff then adds in Ms own words, " He so wrote 
on divine subjects, that the Holy Spirit seems to 
HAVE SPOKEN IN HIM."* This testimony is referred 
to by Pope Sixtus V. 

The latter Pontiff was crowned May 1, 1585, more 
than a century after the canonization of Bonaventura, 
and more than three centuries after his death. By 
his order the works of Bonaventura were " most care- 
fully emendated." The decretal letters, a.d. 1688, pro- 
nounced Bonaventura to be an acknowledged doctor 
of Holy Church, directing his authority to be cited and 
employed in all places of education, and in all eccle- 
siastical discussions and studies. The same act offers 
plenary indulgence to all who assist at the Mass on 
his feast in certain specified places, with other minor 
immunities on the conditions annexed.f 

In these documents Bonaventura is called the " Se- 
raphic Doctor;" and the same question presents itself 
to us again, whether it is possible for any hunaan 
authority to give a more entire, full, and unreserved 
sanction to the works of any human being, than the 
Church of Rome has actually given to the writings of 
Bonaventura.:]: And what do these works present to us 
on the invocation and worship of the Virgin Mary ? 

* P. 831. t P. 837. 

J The edition of his works here used was published at Mentz in 
1609 ; and the passages referred to occur in vol. vi. between pp. 400 
and 500. 


bonaventuea's psalter.* 

In the first place, taking every one of the 150 
psalms singly, Bonaventura so changes the commence- 
ment of each, as to address them all, not as the in- 
spired Psalmist did, to the Lord God Almighty, but 
to the Virgin Mary ; interspersing, in some, much of 
his own composition, and then adding the Gloria 
Pati-i to each. It is indeed a painful task to quote 
any of these perversions of the holy volume of in- 
spired truth ; but we dare not turn our eyes from this 
evil ; we must not be deterred from looking it in the 
face. A few examples, however, will suffice. 

In the 30th psalm, " In thee, O Lord, have I 
trusted, let me not be confounded for ever," &c., the 
Psalter of the Virgin substitutes these words : 

" In thee, O Lady, have I trusted, let me not he 
confounded for ever : in thy grace take me. 

" Thou art my fortitude and my refuge : my consola- 
tion, and my protection. 

" To thee, O Lady, have I cried, while my heart was 
in heaviness ; and thou didst hear me from the top of 
the eternal hills. 

* It is curious to find the Cardinal du Perron^ in his answer to our 
King James, declaring that he had never met with this Psalter in his 
life, and was sure it was never written by Bonaventura ; alleging that 
neither Trithemius nor Gesner had mentioned it. The Vatican edi- 
tors, however, have themselves set that question at rest. They assm-e 
us, that they have thrown into the appendix all the works about the 
genuineness of which there was any doubt, and that Bonaventura 
wrote many works not mentioned by Trithemius, which they have 
published from the Vatican press. Of this Psalter there is no doubt. 
See Cardinal du Perron, Replique a la Rep. du Roi de Grande Bretagne, 
Paris, 1620, p. 974. 


" Bring thou me out of the snare, that they have hid 
for me ; for thou art my succour. 

" Into thy hands, O Lady, I commend my spirit, my 
whole life, and my last day." 

In the 31st psalm we read, " Blessed are they whose 
hearts love thee, O Virgin Mary ; their sins shall be 
mercifully blotted out by thee." 

In the 35th, v, 2. " Incline thou the countenance of 
God upon us ; Compel him to have mercy upon sin- 
ners.* O Lady, thy mercy is in the heaven, and thy 
grace is spread over the whole earth." 

In the 67th, instead of " Let God arise, and let 
his enemies be scattered," the Psalter of the Virgin 
has, " Let Mary arise, and let her enemies be scat- 

In the opening of the 93rd psalm there is a most 
startling, (we must not disguise our real estimate,) a 
most impious and blasphemous comparison of the 
Supreme God with the Virgin Mary, in reference to 
the very attribute which in HIM shines first, and last, 
and brightest — His eternal mercy. It draws the con- 
trast in favour of Mary, and against God. 

" The Lord is a God of vengeance ; but thou, O 
Mother of mercy, inclinest to be merciful." f 

The dearly- valued penitential psalm (129th) is thus 
addressed to Mary : 

" Out of the depths have I called to thee, O Lady ; 
O Lady, hear my voice. Let thine ears be attent to 
the voice of my praise and glorifying : deliver me 
from the hand of my enemies ; confound their imagi- 
nations and attempts against me. Rescue me in the 
evil day, and in the day of death forget not my soul : 

* " COGE ilium peccatoribus misereri," + P. 485. 


carry me into the haven of salvation ; let my name be 
enrolled among the just." * 

As the penitential psalms are thus turned from 
Him to whom the inspired pen of the Psalmist ad- 
dressed them, so are his hymns of praise to Jehovah 
constrained, through the same channel, to flow to the 
Virgin ; and all nature, in the sea, on the earth, in the 
heavens, is called upon to praise and glorify Mary. 
Thus, in the 148th psalm, we read, 

" Praise our Lady of Heaven : glorify her in the 
highest. Praise her all ye men and cattle, ye birds of 
the heaven, and fishes of the sea. Praise her, sun and 
moon ; ye stars, and circles of the planets. Praise her, 
Cherubin and Seraphin, thrones, and dominions, and 
powers. Praise her, all ye legions of angels. Praise 
her, all ye orders of spirits on high."f 

The last sentence of the psalm is thus perverted : 

" Let every thing that hath breath praise our 

May God hasten the time when the only reading in 
Christendom shall again be in the words of the sweet 
Psalmist of Israel, 

" Let every thing that hath breath praise the 

To this Psalter are annexed various hymns lament- 
ably perverted on the same principle. In one, entitled 
" A Canticle like that of Habakkuk iii.," Bonaven- 
tura not only addresses to the Virgin Mary the words 
in which that prophet offered his prayer to God, but 
inserts also the very words in which our Blessed Sa- 
viour most solemnly confessed to his Heavenly Father, 
and with ascriptions of gJory (such as God's own hook 
ascribes to God only) addresses them all to the Virgin : 

* P. 489. t P- 491. 



Addressed in Holy Scrip- 
ture to God the Lord 
Jehovah :* 

Lord, I have heard thy re- 
port, and was afraid. 

1 confess to thee, Father, Lord 
of heaven and earth, because thou 
hast hid these things from the 
wise and prudent, and hast re- 
vealed them to babes. 

Thy glory hath covered the 

The earth is full of the mercy 
of the Lord. 

Thou wentest forth for the 
salvation of thy people ; for sal- 
vation with thy Christ. 

Addressed by Bonaven- 
tnra to Mary : 

Lady, I have heard thy re- 
port, and was astonished. 

1 will confess to thee, Lady, 
because thou hast hid these things 
from the wise, and hast revealed 
them to babes. 

Thy glory hath covered the 
heavens, and the earth is full of 
thy mercy. 

Thou, Virgin, wentest forth 
for the salvation of thy people ; 
for salvation with thy Christ. 

" O thou blessed one, our salvation is placed in thy 
hands. Remember our poverty, O thou pious one ! 
Whom thou w^illest, he shall be saved; and he 


* The parallels become more striking if we lay, side by side, Bona- 
ventura's words to the Virgin and the Latin version of the Bible, 
alone of authority in the Church of Rome. 
Vulgate : 
Domine, audivi audltionem 
tuam, et timui. Hab. iii. 2. 

Confiteor tibi. Pater, Domine 
caeli et terrae, quia abscondisti hsec 
a sapientibus et prudentibus et 
revelasti ea parvulis. 

S. Matt. xi. 25. 
Operuit ceelos gloria ejus. 

Hab. iii. 3. 
Misericordia Domini plena est 
terra. — Ps. xxxii. 5. 

Egressus es in salutem populi 

tui ; in salutem cum Christo tuo. 

Hab. iii. 13. 

Bonaventura : 

Domina, audivi auditionem 
tuam, et obstupui. 

Confitebor tibi, Domina, quia 
abscondisti hteo a sapientibus, et 
revelasti ea parvulis. 

Operuit cselos gloria tua. 

Et misericordia tua plena est 

Egressa es, Virgo, in salutem 
populi tui; in salutem cum 
Christo tuo. 


The Song of the Three Children is altered in the 
same manner ; and both in it, and in the Canticle of 
Zacharias, these prayers are introdviced : 

" O Mother of mercy, have mercy upon ns, miser- 
able sinners, who neglect to repent of our past sins, 
and every day commit many to be repented of." 


The Te Deum is thus miserably distorted : 

" We praise thee, Mother of God ; we acknowledge 
thee, Mary the Virgin. 

" All the earth doth worship thee, Spouse of the 
Eternal Father. 

" To thee all angels and archangels, thrones and 
principalities, faithfully do service. 

" To thee the whole angelic creation with incessant 
voice proclaim. Holy ! Holy ! Holy ! Mary, Parent, 

Mother of God, and Virgin Thou with thy 

Son sittest at the right hand of the Father. 

" O Lady, save thy people, that we may partake of 
tbe inheritance of tby Son ; 

" And govern us and guard us for ever. 

"Day hy day we salute thee, O pious one; and we 
desire to praise thee in mind and in voice, even for ever. 

" Vouchsafe, O sweet Mary, to keep us now and for 
ever without sin. 

" Have mercy upon us, O pious one, have mercy 
upon us. 

" Let thy mercy be made great with us, because in 
thee, O Virgin Mary, we put our trust. In thee, 
sweet Mary, do we hope ; defend us for ever. 

" Praise becomes thee. Empire becomes thee. To 
thee be virtue and glory for ever and ever. Amen." 


Can the most subtle refinement make this merely 
a request to her to pray for us ? 


The Athanasian Creed is employed in the same 
manner ; and it is remarkable that the Assumption 
of the Virgin into heaven (which we shall hereafter 
prove to have no foundation whatever in fact) is here 
specified as one of the points to be believed, on pain of 
forfeiting all hopes of salvation. 

" Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is 
necessary that he hold firm the faith concerning the 
Virgin Mary; which except a man keep whole and 
undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlast- 

" Whom at length He took up [assumpsit] himself 
into heaven ; and she sitteth at the right hand of her 
Son, not ceasing to pray to her Son for us. 

" This is the faith concerning the Virgin Mary, 
which except every one believe faithfully and firmly, 
he cannot be saved." 


In the Litany addressed to Mary these sentences 
occur : 

" Holy Mary, whom all things praise and venerate, 
pray for us — be propitious — spare us, O Lady. 

" From all evil deliver us, O Lady. 

" In the devastating hour of death deliver us, O 

" From the borrible torments of hell deliver us, O 

" We sinners do beseech thee to hear us. 

" That thou wouldest be pleased to give eternal rest 


to all the faithful departed, we beseech thee to hear 
us, O Lady." 

To this catalogue of prayers and praises addressed to 
the Virgin, we will add only the translation of one 
prayer more from the same canonized Saint ; it con- 
tains a passage often referred to, but the existence of 
which has been doubted and denied. There it stands, 
however, in his works, vol. vi. p. 406. 

" Therefore, O Empress and our most benign 
Lady, by the right of a mother command thy most 
BELOVED SON, our Lord Jesus Christ, that he vouchsafe 
to raise our minds from the love of earthly things to 
heavenly desires, who liveth and reigneth." "Jure 
MATRis iMPERA tuo dilectissimo filio." 

Now, let any man of ordinary understanding and 
straightforward principles say, whether any, the most 
ingenious, refinement can fairly interpret all this to 
mean merely that Bonaventura invoked the Virgin 
Mary to pray for him, or for his fellow-creatures. It 
looks as though he were resolved at all hazards to 
exalt her to an equality with the Almighty, when we 
find him, not once, not casually, not in the fervent 
rapture of momentary excitement, but deliberately 
through the one hundred and fifty psalms, applying to 
Mary the very words consecrated by the Holy Spirit 
to the worship of the supreme and only God, and then 
selecting for her the most solemn expressions with 
which the Christian Church approaches the Lord of 
heaven and earth, our Creator, our Saviour, our Sanc- 
tifier; employing, moreover, for Mary's honour, the 
very words of our belief in the ever-blessed Trinity, 
and substituting throughout Mary's name for God's. 


If such a man as Bonaventura, one of the most 
learned and celebrated men of his ago, could be tempt- 
ed by the seductive doctrine cherished by the Church 
of Rome to employ such language, what can be fairly 
expected of the large mass of persons, who find that 
language published to the world with the very highest 
sanction which their religion can give, as the work of 
a man whom the Almighty declared by miracles to be 
a chosen vessel, and to have been under the guidance 
of the Holy Spirit, so that the Holy Spirit seemed to 
speak by him ; and of whom they are taught by the 
infallible testimony of his canonization,* that he is 
now reigning with Christ in heaven, himself the law- 
ful and appointed object of religious invocation ? 


These excesses in the worship of the Virgin Mary are 
not confined to Bonaventura, or to his age. Many ex- 
amples of the same extravagant exaltation of her as the 
chief object of adoration and praise meet us on every 
side, in men whose station and abilities might have 
seemed to hold them forth to the world as burning and 
shining lights in their generation. And, in drawing at- 
tention to the doctrines and expressed feelings of some 
few from among the host of the Virgin's worshippers, 
the object in view is not to fasten these sentiments on 
any professed Roman Catholics who may repudiate 
them ; it is to impress on all persons some idea of the 
excesses into which even celebrated teachers are 
tempted to run, when once they allow the smallest 
inroad to be made upon the integrity of God's worship ; 

* Cardinal Bellarmin, in his " Church Triumphant," maintains that 
in the act of canonization the Church is infallible. Vol. ii. p. 871. 

D 2 


it is also at the same time to caution our countrymen 
against encouraging in any way that revival of the 
worship of the Virgin in England, to promote which 
the highest authorities in the Church of Rome have 
lately expressed their solicitude. Though these exces- 
sive departures from Gospel truth, and the primitive 
worship of one God by one Mediator, may not be prac- 
tically adopted by all who belong to the Church of 
Rome ; yet they are the tenets of some of her most ap- 
proved doctors, — men who were raised to her highest 
dignities in their life-time, and solemnly enrolled 
among her Saints after their death, and whose words 
and actions continue to be appealed to now. But, even 
in their mildest and least startling form, these doc- 
trines are awfully dangerous ; and well does it become 
every one who loves the truth in sincerity to avoid 
every unguarded expression which may seem to coun- 
tenance them. 

The fact is, that the direct tendency of the worship 
of the Virgin, as practically illustrated in the Church 
of Rome, is to make the Almighty himself an object 
of fear, and the Virgin an object of love : to invest 
Him, who is the Father of mercy and God of all com- 
fort, with unapproachable majesty and awe, and with 
the terrors of eternal justice ; and then, in direct and 
striking contrast, to array Mary with mercy, and benig- 
nity, apd compassionate tenderness, and omnipotence 
in her love. His own Word invites us to look to Him 
not only as a God of love, but as Love itself^" God 
is Love ;"* and so far from terrifying us by representa- 
tions of his tremendous majesty, and by assurances 
that we cannot ourselves draw nigh to Him ; so far 
from bidding us to approach him in prayer through 
* 1 John, iv. 8. 


mediators, wliom (more than our one blessed Re- 
deemer) we might regard as having a fellow-feeling 
with us, and at the same time resistless influence with 
him ; his own gracious bidding in the Bible is, " Come 
unto me, and I will give you rest,"* " No man com- 
eth unto the Father but by me,"f " Him that cometh 
unto me I will in no wise cast out,":]; " Let us come 
boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain 
mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." § 

How entirely opposed to such blessed intimations 
as these (breathing the spirit that pervades the Scrip- 
tures throughout) are those doctrines which represent 
the Virgin Mary as the mediator through whom and 
by whom we must sue for the Divine clemency — as 
the dispenser of all God's services and graces — as the 
sharer of God's kingdom, leaving to him the depart- 
ment of vengeance, and taking mercy to herself — and 
as the fountain of pity — as the moderator of Jehovah's 
justice, and the appeaser of his wrath. " Shew thyself 
to be a mother. "|| " Compel thy Son to have pity."^ 
" By thy right of Mother command thy Son."^ 
" Calm the rage of thy heavenly Husband, let his 
heart be softened towkrds us."** " If any one feels 
himself aggrieved by the justice of God, he may ap- 
peal to Mary." ft " God is a God of vengeance, but 
thou, Mary, dost incline to be merciful."^ Surely 
these are expressions conveying sentiments and asso- 
ciations shocking to our feelings, and from whicb our 
reason turns away, as we think of God's perfections, 
and the full atonement and all-powerful intercession 
of his Son, Christ our Redeemer. But it must not be 

* Matt, xi, 28. t John xiv. 6. J John vi. S7. 

§ Heb. iv. 16. || ^st. 597. IT Bonaventura. 

** Nouveau Recueil. tt Bernardin de Bustis. 


disguised that these are the very sentiments in which 
the most celebrated defenders of the worship of the 
Virgin in the Church of Rome teach their disciples to 
acquiesce, and in which they must have themselves 
acquiesced, if they put in practice what they taught. 
It is painful to make such extracts as leave us no al- 
ternative in forming an opinion on this point ; but it is 
necessary to do so, or we may do wrong to the cause of 
truth by suppressing the reality, — a reality over which 
there has appeared, in some persons high in authority 
in the Church of Rome, a disposition to draw a veil. 
The examples, however, are so abundant as to make 
our selection difficult. 


Gabriel Biel was a schoolman of great celebrity. 
He was born at Spires about A. D. 1425, and in 1484 
was appointed the first Professor of Theology in the 
newly founded University of Tubingen. He after- 
wards retired to a monastery, and died in 1495. 

In his 32nd lecture on the Canon of the Mass,* 
referring to a sermon of St. Bernard, he thus ex- 
presses himself: 

" The will of God was, that we should have all 
through Mary. . . . You were afraid to approach the 
Father, frightened by only hearing of him. ... He 
gave you Jesus for a Mediator. What could not 
such a Son obtain from such a Father? He will 
surely be heard for his own reverence-sake, for the 
Father loveth the Son. But are you afraid to ap- 
proach even Him? He is your brother, and your 
flesh, tempted through all, that he might become 
merciful. This brother Mary gave to you. But, 

* Tubingen, 1499. 


perhaps, even in Him you fear the diyine majesty, 
because although he was made man, yet he continued 
God. You wish to have an advocate even with Him. 
Betake yourself to Mary ; for in Mary is pure huma- 
nity, not only pure from all contamination, but pure 
also by the singleness of her nature. Nor with any 
doubt would I say, she too will be heard for her own 
reverence-sake. The Son surely will hear the Mother, 
and the Father will hear the Son." 

The following prayer is offered in the service of the 
Mass : " Deliver us, we beseech thee, O Lord, from all 
evils, past, present, and future ; and by the interces- 
sion of Mary the blessed and glorious ever Virgin- 
Mother of God, with thy blessed Apostles, Peter, and 
Paul, and Andrew, and all Saints, mercifully grant 
peace in our day, that, aided by the help of thy mercy, 
we may be ever free both from sin and from all dis- 
quietude. Through the same our Lord," &c. 

On this Collect, Biel, in his 80th lecture, makes 
this comment : 

" Again we ask, in this prayer, the defence of 
peace ; and since we cannot, nor do we presume to 
obtain this by our own merit, .... therefore we have 
recourse, in the second part of this prayer, to the suf- 
frages of all his Saints, whom he hath constituted in 
the court of his kingdom as our mediators, most 
acceptable to himself, whose prayers his love does 
not reject. But of them we fly, in the first place, 
to the most blessed Virgin, the Queen of heaven, to 
whom the King of kings, the heavenly Father, has 
given the half of his kingdom; which was signified 
in Hester the queen, to whom, when she approached to 
appease King Ahasuerus, the king said, ' Even if thou 
shalt ask the half of my kingdom, it shall be given to 


thee.' So the heavenly Father, inasmuch as he has 
justice and mercy as the more valued possessions of 
his kingdom, retaining justice to himself, granted 


The very same partition of the kingdom of heaven* 
between the Virgin and God himself is also asserted 
bj one who was dignified by the name of the Vene- 
rable and most Christian Doctor, John Gerson, who 
died in 1429 ; excepting that, instead of justice and 
mercy, Gerson mentions power and mercy as the two 
parts of which God's kingdom consists, and states, 
tliat whilst " power remained with the Lord, the part 
of mercy was ceded to the Mother of Christ and the 
reigning spouse : hence by the whole Church she is 
saluted as Queen of Mercy."f 



Peter Damiani, Cardinal and Bishop, lived four 
centuries before Biel, though his works received the 
papal sanction so late as the commencement of the 
seventeenth century. His writings were published at 
the command of Pope Clement VIII., wtio died in 
the year 1604, and were dedicated to his successor, 

* This idea of a partition of the kingdom of the Eternal Creator and 
Governor unhappily very widely pervades the works of those who 
have written on the worship and honours due to Mary; associated 
almost always with the idea of her being the King's spouse, and so the 
reigning queen of heaven ; and, like Esther, the wife of Ahasuerus, 
pleasing her Royal husband by her grace and beauty, and so appeas- 
ing his anger and securing immunities for her own people. 

t Gerson, Paris, 1606, tract, iv. Super "Magnificat," part iii. p. 
754. See Fabricius, vol. iii. p. 49 ; Patav. 1754. 


Paul v., who gave the copyright for fifteen years to 
the editor Constantine Cajetau, a.d. 1606. One quo- 
tation will suffice. In his sermon on the Nativity of 
the Virgin he thus addresses her : 

" Nothing is impossible with thee, to whom it is 
possible to restore those in despair to the hope of 
blessedness ; for how could that authority which de- 
rived its flesh from thy flesh oppose thy power ? For 
thou approachest before the golden altar of human 
reconciliation, not asking only, but commanding; a 


Two writers now call for our attention whose par- 
tial identity of name has not unnaturally led to some 
confusion as to the writings belonging to each — Ber- 
nardinns de Bustis, and Bernardinns Sennensis.f 

Bernardinus de Bustis (called from a place in the 
country of Milan) was the celebrated author of " The 
Office of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed 
Virgin," which was confirmed by the bull of Sixtus 
IV., and has since been used on the 8th of December. 
He composed various works in honour of the Virgin, 
to one of which he gave the title " Mariale," In this 
work, in the midst of a great variety of sentiments of 
a similar tendency, he thus expresses himself: 

" Of so great authority in the heavenly palace is 
that Empress, that, omitting all intermediate saints, 
we may appeal to her from every grievance. With 
confidence, then, let every one appeal to her, whe- 
ther he be aggrieved by the devil, or by any 
tyrant, or by his own body, or by divine justice." 
Tlieu, having specified and illustrated the three other 

* Non solum rogans, sed imperans ; domina, non ancilla. Paris, 
1743, vol. ii. p. 107, serm. 44. f Fabricius, vol. i. p. 215. 


sources of grievance, he thus proceeds : " In the 
fourth place, he may appeal to her, if any one 


empress Hester was therefore a figure of this Em- 
press of the heavens, with whom God divided his king- 
dom. For whereas God has justice and mercy, he re- 
tained justice to himself to be exercised in this world, 
and granted mercy to his mother ; and thus, if any 
one feels himself to be aggrieved in the court of God's 
justice, let him appeal to the court of mercy of his 
mother." * 

If we calmly weigh the import of these words, is it 
anything short of robbing the Eternal Father of the 
brightest jewel in his crown, and sharing his glory with 
another? Is it not encouraging us to turn our eyes 
from the God of Mercy as a stern and ruthless judge, 
and habitually to fix them upon Mary as the dispenser 
of all we want for the comfort and happiness of our 
souls ? 

In another place Bernardine thus exalts Mary : 

" Since the Virgin Mary is Mother of God, and God 
is her Son, and every son is naturally inferior to his 
mother and subject to her, and the mother is preferred 
above and is superior to her son, it follows that the 
blessed virgin is herself superior to god, and God 
HIMSELF is her SUBJECT by reason of the humanity de- 
rived from her."f And again, " O the unspeakable dig- 
nity of Mary, who was worthy to command the Com- 
mander of all !"t 

We must not pass on without making one more 
quotation from this famed Doctor : it appears to rob 
God of his justice and power, as well as of his mercy ; 

* Cologne, 1607, part iii. serm. ii. p. 176. 

f Part ix. serm. ii. p. 605. J Part xii. serm. ii. p. 816. 


and to turn our eyes to Mary for the possession of all 
we can desire, and for safety from all we can dread. 
Would that Bernardine stood alone in the propagation 
of these doctrines ! 

" We may say that the blessed Virgin is Chancellor 
in the court of heaven. For we see, that, in the 
chancery of our Lord the Pope, three kinds of letters 
are granted : some are of simple justice, others are of 
pure grace, and the third mixed, combining justice 
and grace. . . . The third chancellor is he to whom it 
appertains to give letters of pure grace and mercy. 
And this office hath the blessed Virgin, and therefore 
she is called the Mother of grace and mercy ; but those 
letters of mercy she gives only in the present life. 
For to some souls, as they are departing, she gives 
letters of pure grace ; to others, of simple justice ; and 
to others mixed, namely, of justice and grace. For 
some have been very much devoted to her, and to 
them she gives letters of pure grace, by which she 
COMMANDS that glory be given to them without any 
pain of purgatory; others are miserable sinners, and 
not devoted to her, and to them she gives letters 
of simple justice, by which she commands that con- 
dign vengeance be done upon them ; others were luke- 
warm and remiss in their devotion, and to them she 
gives letters both of justice and of grace, by which she 
commands that grace be given unto them, and yet, on 
account of their negligence and sloth, some pain of 
purgatory be also inflicted on them."* 

Bernardinus Sennensis. — This Bernardine was a 
canonized Saint.f A full account of bis life, and of his 

* Part xii. serm. i. on the 22nd excellence, p. 825. 
t Paris, 1636. 


enrolment by the Pope among the Saints of heaven, 
is found in the " Acta Sanctorum," vol. v. May 20, the 
day especially dedicated to his honour. Eugenius IV. 
died before the canonization of Bernardine could be 
completed ; the next Pope, Nicholas V., on Whitsun- 
day, 1450, in full conclave enrolled him among the 
Saints, as we are told, to the joy of all Italy. In 1461, 
Pius II. said, that Bernardine was taken for a Saint 
even in his lifetime ; and in 1472, Sixtus IV. issued a 
bull, in which he extols the Saint, and authorizes the 
removal of his body into a new Church, dedicated, as 
others had been, to his honour. 

This Bernardine is equally explicit with others in 
maintaining that all the blessings which Christians can 
receive on earth are dispensed by Mary ; that her 
princedom equals the Eternal Father's ; that all are her 
servants and subjects who are the servants and sub- 
jects of the most High ; that all who adore the Son of 
God should adore his Virgin Mother ; and that the 
Virgin has repaid the Almighty for all that he has 
done for the human race. Some of these doctrines 
are truly startling, but we have been assured they find 
an echo in the pulpits of many parts of the Continent 
at the present day. To multiply quotations on these 
several points is unnecessary and irksome ; a few will 
suffice for all. 

"So many creatures do service to the glorious 
Mary as do service to the Trinity. . . . For he 
who is the Son of God and of the Blessed Virgin, 
wishing (so to speak) to make the princedom of his 
Mother in a manner equal to his Father's, he who was 
God served his Mother on earth. Moreover, this is 
true, all things, even the Virgin, are servants of the 


Divine empire ; and again, tliis is true, all things, even 
God, are servants of the empire of the Virgin." * 

" Therefore all the angelic spirits are the ministers 
and servants of this glorious Virgin."f 

" To comprise all in a brief sentence, I have no 
doubt that God granted all the pardons and libera- 
tions in the Old Testament on account of his love and 
reverence for this blessed maid, by -which God pre- 
ordained from eternity that she should by predestina- 
tion be honoured above all his works. On account of 
the immense love of the Virgin, as well Christ him- 
self, as the whole Blessed Trinity, frequently grants 
pardon to the most wicked sinners.":|: 

" By the law of succession and the right of inheritance 
the primacy and kingdom of the whole universe is due 
to the Blessed Virgin. Nay, when her only Son died 
on the cross, since he had no one on earth of right to 
succeed him, his mother by the laws of all succeeded, 
and by this acquired the principality of all. . . . 
But of the monarchy of the universe Christ never 
made any testamentary bequest, because that could 
never be done without prejudice to his mother. More- 
over, he knew that a mother can annul the will of 
HER Son, if it be made to the prejudice of herself."^ 

"The Virgin-Mother, II from the time she conceived 
God, obtained a certain jurisdiction and authority in 
every temporal procession of the Holy Spirit, so that 
no creature could obtain any grace of virtue from God, 

* Vol. iv. serm. v. c. vi. p. 118. f Serm. iii. c. iii. p. 104. 

J Serm. v. c. ii. p. 1 1 6. § Serm. v. c. vii. pp. 116,118. 

II Serm. v. e. viii. and Serm. vi. c. ii. pp. 120 and 122. — There is 
an omission (probably by an error of the press) in the first passage, 
which the second enables us to supply. 


except according to the dispensation of his Virgin- 
Mother* As through the neck the vital breathings 
descend from the head into the body, so the vital 
graces are transfused from the head Christ into his 
mystical body through the Virgin. I fear not to say 
that this Virgin has a certain jurisdiction over the 
flowing of all graces. And because she is the mother 
of such a Son of God, wbo produces the Holy Spirit, 
therefore all the gifts, graces, and virtues of the Holy 
Spirit are administered by the hands of herself to 
whom she will, when she will, how she will, and in 
what quantity she will."t 

" She is the queen of mercy, tbe temple of God, the 
habitation of the Holy Spirit, — always sitting at the 
right hand of Christ in eternal glory ; therefore she is 
to be venerated, to be saluted, and to be adored with 
the adoration of hyperdulia : and therefore she sits at 
the right hand of tbe King, that, as often as you adore 
Christ the King, you may adore also the mother of 

Christ." t 

" The blessed Virgin Mary alone has done more for 
God, or as much (so to speak) as God hath done for 
the whole human race. I verily believe that God -will 
excuse me if I now speak for the Virgin. Let us then 
gather together into one mass what things God hath 
done for man ; and let us consider what satisfaction 
the Virgin Mary hath returned to the Lord."^ Ber- 
nardine then enumerates various particulars, (of many 
of which the ordinary feelings of reverence and deli- 
cacy forbid the transfer into these pages,) putting one 

* This Bernardine is constantly referring to St. Bernard for this 
doctrine, " No grace comes from heaven upon the earth, but what 
passes through the hands of Mary." . + Serm. y. p. 119. 

+ Serm. vi. p. 121. § Serm. vi. p. 120. 


against another, in a sort of debtor and creditor ac- 
count, and then summing up the total, thus : " There- 
fore, setting each individual thing one against another, 
namely, what things God hath done for man, and what 
things the blessed Virgin has done for God, you will 
see THAT Mary has done more for God than God has 
FOR MAN ; so that thus, on account of the blessed Vir- 
gin, (whom nevertheless He himself made,) God is in 


The whole treatise he finishes with this address to 

" Truly by mere babbling are we uttering these thy 
praises and excellencies, but we suppliantly pray 
thy immense sweetness ; do thou by thy benignity 
supply our insufficiencies, that we may worthily praise 
thee through the endless ages of ages. Amen." 

It may here be remarked, that by almost every 
writer in support of the worship of the Virgin an ap- 
peal is made to St. Bernard * as their chief authority ; 
especially is the following passage quoted by many, 
either whole or in part, at almost every turn of 
their argument : f 

" If thou art disturbed by the heinousness of thy 
crimes, and confounded by the foulness of thy con- 
science, if terrified by the horror of judgment thou 
begin to be swallowed tip in the gulf of despair, think 
of Mary, invoke Mary; let her not depart from thy 
heart, let her not depart from thy mouth. For, while 
thinking of her, thou dost not err ; imploring her, thou 

* The present Pope in the same manner refers to him in his Ency- 
clical letter. 

+ See Bern. Sen. vol. iv. p. 124. The passage is found in Bernard. 
Paris, 1640, p. 25. 


dost not despair ; following her, thou dost not lose thy 
way ; while she holds thee, thou dost not fall ; while 
she protects thee, thou dost not fear ; while she is thy 
leader, thou art not wearied ; while she is favourable, 
thou readiest thy end." 



We have already observed, that the excesses and ex- 
travagancies into which the worshippers of the Virgin 
have run, when brought to light, exceed all that we. 
have been accustomed to meet with in books or in 
conversation. So revolting are many of them, that 
able and learned Roman Catholic writers have deemed 
the exposure and refutation of them a pious work, due 
even to the Virgin herself, in order to preserve her le- 
gitimate honours from disparagement and ridicule. It 
is very curious to find that these very writers, while 
they open to us a mass of superstition, and idola- 
try, and blasphemy, of which we should not other- 
wise have been aware, and while they expose and 
reprove what they call unwarrantable excesses in 
the votaries of Mary, themselves supply us with the 
strongest and most convincing evidence of the de- 
plorable extent to which, even with their counte- 
nance and support, both from argument and from 
their own example, the worship of the Virgin in its 
most modified form entrenches upon the honour due 
to God only, and tempts Christians to anchor on the 
intercession of Mary that holy hope which should 
rest only on Christ himself. 

The work of Titeophilus Raynaud, a Jesuit of 


Lyons, is in many points "very curious and interesting. 
One of its professed principles is to modify and reduce 
within reasonable bounds the worship of the Virgin 
Mary, and to explode those excesses which, by exciting 
disgust or suspicion, might endanger, what he considers, 
her rightful praise and glory. But, fearing lest his in- 
tention should be misunderstood, he thinks it neces- 
sary to make an explicit profession of his sense of the 
boundless merits of the Virgin, for expressing which 
he adopts the words of a former writer. " The tor- 
rents of heaven and the fountains of the great deep I 
would rather open than close in homage of the Virgin. 
And, if HER Son Jesus has omitted anything as to 
the pre-eminence of the exaltation of his own mother, 
I a servant, I a slave, not indeed with effect, but with 
affection, would delight in filling it up. I had rather 
verily have no tongue, than say one word against our 
Lady ; I would rather have no soul, than diminish 
aught of her glory."* 

Many of the dissertations, (some approved, some 
carried on at great length, some discountenanced by 
this writer,) on which men have dared to enter as 
to the mystery of the incarnation of the eternal Son 
of God, cannot be quoted here, even to be reproved, 
without setting at nought all decency and pious re- 
verence ; and we will leave them. They warn us at 
every step to avoid all vain curiosity, and never to 
pry into those secret things which belong to the Lord 
our God ; and of the manifold questions which are idle 
and profitless, and savouring of superstition rather than 
of indelicacy, our plan admits of a reference only to a 
very few. Among those numerous tenets which Ray- 

* "Si Pilius ejus Jesus aliquid omisisset in prerogativa exultationis 
[qy.exaltationis] suse matris." Raynaud, Lugduni,! 665. Vol. vii. p. 4. 



naud records as having been maintained by the vota- 
ries of the Virgin, but which he discountenances, are 
these : 

" That the Virgin had rescued and snatched some 
souls out of hell, that they might do penance."* 

" That the very flesh of the Virgin Mary is adored 
daily in the Church with supreme worship, and is a 
victim offered to God, for a sacrifice of sweet savour to 
the Lord, because her flesh is one with Christ's," t and 
" is to be worshipped in the Eucharist with the adora- 
tion of hyper dulia.":|: 

" That, by reason of her maternity, the Virgin Mary 
might be worshipped with the v/orship with which 
God is himself worshipped, — the adoration of La- 
tria;"§ and he tells us that both Suarez and Men- 
doza maintained this doctrine. 

This author disapproves of the sentiment, (a senti- 
ment which unhappily seems by no means to be con- 
fined to the author whom he cites, and whose works 
he says had an immense circulation,) that Christians 
love Christ on account of, and in consequence of, the 
love which they bear to his mother. || 

St. Ildefonsus, he tells us, " with a faithful pre- 
sumption and pious boldness," extended the power of 
the Virgin to hell, granting to the damned some 
remedy and refreshing, and freedom from the vexa- 
tion of the devils, " on the day of her assumption."^ 

Now, the evidence of such an author as this, who 
was a member of the College of Jesuits, seems to be 
both unobjectionable and very valuable. If one of 

* Raynaud, vol. vii. p. 15. t P. 237. 

+ P- 65. I p. 229. 

II " Amo Te, Christe Deus, propter matrem quam diligo." P. 235. 

H P. 228. 


his main objects was to condemn the excessive and 
extpavagant acts of worship and adoration which he 
witnessed in his predecessors and contemporaries, we 
must infer that while his own practice, at all events, 
did not exceed the average, it may fairly be sup- 
posed to fall below it. And what does he profess to 
allow or to maintain? or what worship does he feel 
himself justified in oifering to the Virgin ? 

Although many more passages are at hand, we will 
quote only two ; one describing a form of worsbip, 
which will make her praise perfect, if her votary will 
add the imitation of Mary ; and the other, the closing- 
words of his work, called Diptycha Mariana, in which 
he declares it to be his delight to address to the Vir- 
gin a hymn in imitation of the Te Deum. 

In the first passage,* he begins by saying that he 
will not suffer himself to pass by " a pious daily 
practice of worshipping and religiously invoking the 
blessed Virgin in private, supplied by Richard of St. 
Lawrence" (lib. ii. de B. V. partic 5). " The will," he 
says, " of the Son is, that we should bless his Mother 
and our Sovereign Lady at all times, namely, by night 
and by day, in prosperity and adversity ; and that her 
praise should ever dwell in our heart and in our 
mouth; by meditating upon her, by praising her, by 
praying, blessing, giving thanks to her, by preaching 
forth her greatnesses ; and that her praise should be as 
a curb in our jaws curbing us in from the vices of the 
tong-ue. Wherefore she also hekself promises, with 
HER Son, to him who praises her (Isaiah 48), ' With 
my praise will I curb thee, that thou perish not.' 
Also that thou mayest fulfil that psalm (102), &c. 
' All that is within me bless her' [ejus is ambiguous, 

* P. 232. 


but ' ab ed,' in the next line, fixes tlie sense] 'tioly 
name.' And daily are her [ejus] members individually 
to be blessed, that we may receive back a blessing 
to our members individually from her [a5 ed]. In 
like manner are her feet to be blessed, with which 
she carried the Lord ; the womb, in which she carried 
him ; the heart, whence she courageously believed in 
him, and fervently loved him ; the breasts, with which 
she gave him suck ; the hands, with which she nour- 
ished him ; the mouth and tongue, with which she 
gave to him the happy kisses of our redemption ; the 
nostrils, with which she smelled the sweet-smelling 
fragrance of his humanity ; the ears, with which she 
listened with delight to his eloquence ; the eyes, with 
which she devoutly looked upon him ; the body and 
soul, which Christ consecrated in her with every 
benediction. And these most sacred members must 
be saluted and blessed with all devotion, so that sepa- 
rate salutations must be addressed to the several mem- 
bers separately, naraely, ' Hail, Mary,' two to the feet, 
one to the womb, one to the heart, two to the breasts, 
two to the hands, two to the mouth and tongue, two 
to the lips, two to the nostrils, two to the ears, two to 
the eyes, two to the soul and body. And thus in all 
there are twenty salutations, which after the manner 
of a daily payment, with separate and an equal num- 
ber of kneelings, if it can be done, before her image or 
altar, are to be paid to the glorious Virgin, according 
to that psalm (144). ' Every day will I give thanks 
unto thee, and praise thy name for ever,' &;c. And 
as those persons say who have experienced it, and 
have heard it from holy men, scarcely can be found 
any other form of service [servitii] which would so 
much please the Virgin, or from which so ranch 


devotion would flow back to those who love her. 
Likewise, through all her members separately, after 
the kneeling, adoration, and salutation, thus must it 
be said : ' Sweet Lady, I adore and bless those most 
blessed feet, by which thou didst carry the Lord upon 
the earth ; I adore and bless that most blessed womb, 
in which thou didst carry him :' and so to the other 
members and senses, commemorating their acts by 
which they served the Lord ; and this will devotion 
better prescribe than a discourse, grace better than 

And this is a branch of Mary's worship approved 
and recommended by one whose professed object is 
to curtail, and limit, and purify, and reduce her wor- 
ship within reasonable bounds ! Can we wonder at 
the horrible blasphemies which meet us on every 
side i'Hoo dreadful, many of them, to be repeated ; but, 
nevertheless, unhappily upon record. If one who 
reproves those who indulge in extravagant and ex- 
cessive worship of the Virgin will himself, not in the 
fervour of enthusiasm, nor hurried along by the im- 
petuosity of his own eloquence, calmly and delibe- 
rately sanction such condensed superstition as the 
above service involves, what must have been the ex- 
travagancies and excesses which he condemns ? Here 
the worshipper of the Virgin is directed to perform 
daily a peculiar service to her, in order that he 
might towards her fulfil the prophetic measure of 
the Psalmist's devotion, when he called upon his soul 
and all within him to bless God the Lord Jehovah. 
Here it is declared that it was " Mary, with her Son," 
who made that promise to her votaries of safety from 
destruction, which, whatever be the promise, the 
Word of inspired truth declares to have been made, 


not by Mary, but by the Lord omnipotent. God, 
in the passage containing the promise now ascribed 
first to the Virgin, (though her Son is joined with 
her) announces himself, the speaker, the promiser, to 
be " the first and the last." " I am He — mine hand 
hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right 
hand hath spanned the heavens.'' The Bible declares 
the speaker to be God : this writer substitutes Mary 
for God -, and altliougli her e^er-blessed Son is join- 
ed, jet Mar/s praise, and not her Son's, is the only 
offering to which her promise is here applied.* 
Really, what we read of the works of Marie D'Agreda, 
though more shocking to our feelings, as the errors 
are detailed, yet scarcely implies greater impiety in 
itself, or more directly and unequivocally robs God of 
his glory." i* 

Raynaud's accommodation of the Te Deum to the 
Virgin Mary contains these sentences : 

" We praise thee. Queen of heaven ; we honour thee. 
Sovereign Lady of the world. 

" All creatures of right praise thee, Mother of im- 
mense splendour, Chamber of the Trinity most high, &c. 

" Thou art the beloved daughter of the Eternal Fa- 
ther ; thou art the elect mother of the Son of God ; 
and also the Holy Bride of the Comforter. 

" All angels obey thee. Thee the heavens of heavens 
love in'estimably. 

" To thee Cherubin and Seraphin cry aloud with 
ineffable voice, 'Hail, Hail, Hail, O Lady of glory; the 

* See Bayle, Amsterdam, yoI. i. p. 96. 

t This writer quotes the Vulgate, which makes the substitution of 
the Virgin's name for the everlasting Creator's still more glaring. 
" Laude mea infrenabo te, ne intereas. . . . Audi me, Jacob. Ego 
ipse, ego primus, et ego novissirnus." 


heavens and earth are full of the sweetness of thy 

" Thou art the Queen of the apostles, thou the 
teaching of the evangelists. 

" Thee the praiseworthy company of the prophets, 
thee the band of patriarchs worship. 

" Thou art the victory of martyrs, thou the glory of 

" Thee the roses of Paradise, glorious virgins, praise ; 
as do the chaste in their choir, singing ' Hail, O 
sweetest Queen, rejoice, O our most worthy Mother, 
who pourest grace upon the saints, and deliverest souls 
from the depths.' 

" We sinners therefore beseech thee, O Mother of 
God, belp that people, wbom the precious blood of thy 
Son our Lord Jesus Christ redeemed. 

" Make us to be numbered* with thy saints in glory 
most high. 

" Through thee may we, O holy Mother, be deemed 
worthy to be piously comforted. 

" Thou who art crowned with so many prerogatives 
of holiness in the glory of the Father, rejoicing by thy 
right of mother in so many privileges of dignity ; joy, 
rejoice, be glad, who art greater than all praise, O 
merciful, O pious, O sweet Mary the Virgin." 

The author adds, as his closing expression : 

" May these be my words through the whole of this 
life, and may I with the holy angels break forth into 
the same through all eternity !" 

" I have treated concerning Christ — I have treated 
concerning his Mother.f Sweet is the Lord, sweet 

* The reading (probably by an error of the press) is " munerari." 
f Raynaud adopts here the words of Damiani. 


is the Lady •, because He, my God, is my mercy ; she, 
my Lady, is my gate of mercy. May the mother con- 
duct us to her Son, the daughter to her Father, the 
bride to her Husband, who is blessed for ever more ! 
Amen." * 

With men and Christians bent on arriving at the 
truth, and possessing it, can any refinement take from 
this address the character of a direct prayer to the 
Virgin for benefits in lier power to bestow ? Can it 
be freed from an ascription of the divine attributes to 
Mary ? 

In the very words in. which Christians have been 
long wont to seek for God's mercy, and to praise Him, 
does tbis parody on the Te Deum ask for Mary's help, 
and proclaim her praises. 

" Make us to be numbered with the saints in glory. 

" We therefore pray thee help the people. 

" To thee Cherubin and Seraphin with inelfable 
voice do cry. 

" The goodly company of the prophets worship 
thee," &c. 

And yet this is the worship offered to the Virgin by 
one who considers himself as a pattern of moderation, 
and discretion, and care, and circumspection, and pru- 
dence in his praises of the Virgin. " Others among 
her votaries (he tells us in a sort of feigned address to 
one of. them) flew through the air, whilst he was con- 
tented to walk on foot as long as he remained on 
earth ; others poured forth words like torrents in her 
praise, he weighed them in the balance of judgment ; 
others gathered a sour and unripe vintage, he culled 
ripe fruit in its season and brought them to the table." 

* P. 240. 


These cautions against paying excessive and indiscreet 
honours to the Virgin are not made by Raynaud cur- 
sorily in passing ; they are dwelt upon, and repeated, 
and confirmed, and illustrated through many folio 
pages.* This writer's evidence is unexceptionable ; it 
cannot be suspected ; and it is conclusive. 

* P. 9, &c. 





It may, perhaps, be surmised that, whereas the 
authors cited in the last section lived many years ago, 
the sentiments of those who profess the faith of Rome 
now, have undergone many changes. * Assurances 
moreover have, from time to time, been given, that 
the invocation of the Virgin implies nothing more 
than a request that she would mtercede -wvtlL Gcid 
and implore his mercy for her supplicants, just as one 
Christian may ask a brother on earth to pray for him. 
Even were this so, we can see no analogy hetween the 
two cases ; but is the fact so 1 Whatever confidence 
we may place on the honesty of those who make such 
declarations, we can discover no new key to interpret 
satisfactorily the forms of prayer which meet us on 
every side. Confessedly there are no changes in the 
authorized and appointed services ; we discover no 
traces of change in the worship of private devotion. 
The Breviary and the Missal contain the same offices 
of the Virgin Mary as in former days.f The same 
sentiments are expressed to her in public ; the same 
forms of devotion, both in prayer and praise, are pro- 
vided for the use of individuals in their daily exer- 
cises. Whatever meaning is rightly to be attached 

* See a sermon by the titular Bishop of Siga, preached at Bradford, 
July 27, 1825, p. 15. t Encyclical Letter of the present Pop^v 


to the expressions employed, (and surely in the most 
holy and momentous of all things it is dangerous and 
unjustifiable to employ one language for the ear and 
eye, and another for the understanding and heart,) the 
prevailing expressions remain the same as we have 
found them to have been in past ages. 

At the head of these modern proofs we reasonably 
place the encyclical letter of the present Sovereign 
Pontiff, where the spirit of the worship of the Vir- 
gin seems to diffuse itself throughout in its full 
strength. Referring the Pope's words to a test which 
we have already applied in a similar case, changing 
the name of the person addressed or spoken of, and 
substituting the name of the Eternal Father or of his 
Blessed Son, it is difficult for us to see how the spirit 
of the Pope's sentiments falls in the least below the 
highest grade of religious worship. 

His words in the third paragraph of this letter, as 
they appear in the Laity's Directory for 1833,* are 
these : 

" Butf having at length taken possession of our see 
in the Lateran Basilic, according to the custom and 
institution of our predecessors, we turn to you without 
delay, venerable brethren, and, in testimony of our feel- 
lings towards you, we select for the date of our letter 

* " The encyclical letter of our most holy Father Pope Gregory, 
by Divine Providence the sixteenth of that name^ to all patriarchs, 
pnmates, archbishops, and bishops." 

+ This is the translation circulated in the Roman Catholic Annual 
(p. 15), called the Laity's Directory for the year 1833, on the title- 
page of v\rhich is this notice : " The Directory for the Church Service 
printed by Messrs. Keating and Brovyn is the only one which is pub- 
lished with the authority of the Vicars Apostolic in England. London, 
Nov. 1829. (Signed) James, Bishop ofUsula, Vic. Apost. Loud." 


this most joyful day, on which we celebrate the solemn 
festival of the most blessed Virgin's triumphant as- 
sumption into heaven ; that she, who has been through 
every great calamity our patroness and protectress, 


which may prove most salutary to Christ's flock."* 

For the name of Mary let us here substitute the ho- 
liest name of all, the Eternal Spirit of Jehovah himself, 
and would not these words be a suitable vehicle of a 
Christian pastor's sentiments ? Or let us fix on Christ- 
mas-day, or Easter, or Holy Thursday ; and what word 
expressive of thankfulness for past mercies to the 
Supreme Giver of all good things, or of hope and trust 
in the guidance of the Spirit of counsel, and wisdom, 
and strength, who alone can order the wills and ways 
of men, might not a Christian bishop take from this 
declaration of the present Pope, and use it in its first 
and natural sense, when speaking of the Lord God 
Almighty ? 

" We select for the date of our letter this most joy- 
ful day, on which we celebrate the solemn festival of 
the most Blessed Redeemer's nativity, (or glorious 
resurrection, or ascension,) that* He, who has been 
through every great calamity our patron and protec- 
tor, may watch over us writing to you, and lead our 
mind' by his heavenly influence to those counsels 
which may prove most salutary to Christ's flock." 

* We have already seen how utterly groundless is the legend of the 
Vkgin's assumption, how totally unworthy of credit to any one who 
will trace its history, from the total silence of the first ages, to its final 
establishment as an article of faith ; and here the Roman Pontiff refers 
to it, as he would have referred to the Ascension of our Lord, recorded 
in the Holy Gospels ! 

PRESENT pope's LETTER. 61 

From these sentiments of the present Pope, weigh- 
ing the words employed, and, so far as words may be 
relied upon as interpreters of the thoughts, looking to 
the spirit of his professions, we can fairly draw only 
one inference. However direct and immediate the 
prayers of any supplicants may be to the Virgin for 
her protection and defence from all dangers spiritual 
and bodily, and for the guidance of their inmost 
thoughts in the right way, such petitioners to Mary 
would be sanctioned to the utmost by the principles 
and examples of the present Roman Pontiff. 

We shall be led in a subsequent part of this work 
(when examining the records of the Council of Chalce- 
don) to compare the closing words of this encyclical 
letter of the present Pope with the more holy, and 
primitive, and Scriptural aspirations of the Bishops 
of Rome and Constantinople in those earlier days ; 
and not less striking is the contrast between the 
sentiments now expressed in the opening parts of 
the same letter, and the spirit of various collects 
framed for the use of the faithful before the invoca- 
tion of the Virgin had unhappily gained its present 
strong hold and ascendancy in the Church of Rome. 
For example, a collect* at vespers teaches to pray to 
God as the source from whom all holy desires and all 
good counsels proceed ; and on the fifth Sunday after 
Easter this prayer is .offered, " O God, from whom all 
good things do come, grant, we pray Thee, that by thy 
inspiration we may think those things that be good, 
and by thy guidance may perform the same ;" while 
on the fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, in a collect 
the spirit of which is strongly contrasted with the 

* Hiem. 149. 


sentiments of the Pope in both parts of his encyclical 
letter, the Supreme Being is thus piously addressed, 
"We beseech Thee, O Lord, with thy continuous 
pity guard thy family, that, leaning on the sole hope 
of heavenly grace, it may ever be defended by thy 


Materials are abundantly supplied which may en- 
able us to form a correct estimate of the state 
of the vi^orship of the Virgin at the present day, 
wherever allegiance is acknowledged to Rome. Vo- 
lumes might readily be composed, consisting wholly of 
rules and instructions and forms of prayer appertaining 
to the Virgin, published by authority both in our own 
country and on the Continent, to which the Word of 
God and the doctrine and practice of the primitive 
Church seem to us utterly and irreconcilably opposed. 
To some of these our argument requires that we refer ; 
though it is neither a profitable nor a pleasing task to 
dwell, longer than the necessity of the case calls for, on 
such lamentable corruptions. 

" The ' Imitation of the Virgin Mary,' composed on 
the plan of the ' Imitation of Christ,' "-f is a work in its 
substance and in its title highly objectionable. The 
tendency of its very plan is by association to exalt 
Mary to the same place in our hearts and minds 
which Thomas a Kempis had laboured in his " Imita- 
tion of Christ ■" to secure for the Saviour ; and it re- 
calls the proceedings of Bonaventura, in writing psalms 

* Hiem. 364. 

f London, 1S16. "Approved by T. R. AnseJini, Doctor of Sor- 
bonne, late Bishop of Boulogne. — From the French." 


to the honour of the Virgin after the manner of David 
in his hymns to the Lord of Glory. 

The following prayer to the Virgin seems to be 
stained with the error, already adverted to, of con- 
trasting the justice and stern dealings even of the 
Saviour, with the mercy, and loving-kiiidiiess, and fel- 
low-feeling of Mary ; to make God the object of fear, 
the Virgin the object of love : 

" Mother of my Redeemer, O Mary, in the last 
moment of my life I implore thy assistance with more 
earnestness than ever. I find myself, as it were, 
placed between heaven and hell. Alas ! what will 
become of me, if thou do not exert in my behalf thy 
powerful influence with Jesus ? ... I die with submis- 
sion, since Jesus has ordained it ; but, notwithstand- 
ing the natural horror which I have of death, I die 
WITH PLEASURE, becauso I die under thy protection." * 

In the fourteenth chapter f the following passage 
occurs : 

" It is giving to the blessed Virgin a testimony of 
love, particularly dear and precious to her, to make 
her holy spouse Joseph the first object of our devo- 
tion, next to that which conseceates us to her ser- 
vice. The name of Joseph is invoked with singular 
devotion by all the true faithful. They frequently 
join it with the sacred names of Jesus and Mary. 
Whilst Jesus and Mary lived at Nazareth, if we had 
wished to obtain some honour from them, could we 
have employed a more powerful protector than St. 
Joseph ? Will he now have less power and credit ? 
Go THEREFORE TO JosEPH (Gen. xli. 55 1) that he may 

* Chap. xiii. p. 344. f P. 347. 

:j: This reference to Holy Scripture in support of a doctrine and 
practice with which it has nothing to do, is not singular in writers 


intercede for you. Whatever favour you ask, God 
will grant it you at his request. ... Go to Joseph in 
all your necessities ; but especially to obtain the grace 
of a happy death. The general opinion that he died 
in the arms of Jesus and Mary has inspired the faith- 
ful with great confidence, that through his interces- 
sion they will have an end as happy and consoling as 
his. In effect it has been remarked, that it is particu- 
larly at the hour of death that those who have been 
during their life careful to honour this great Saint 
reap the fruit of their devotion." 

In this passage, the low and unworthy idea, itself 
formed on a groundless tradition, is introduced, of 
paying reverence to one Saint above the rest, in order 
to gratify and conciliate another. Joseph must 
especially be honoured, in order to do what is most 
acceptable to Mary. Can the tendency of this be 
any other than to withdraw the mind from that 
habitual reference of all our actions immediately to 
God, which the primitive teachers of our holy faith 
were so anxious to cultivate in all who call themselves 
by the name of Christ ? 

In a devotional work, entitled " The Little Testa- 
ment of the Holy Virgin,"* the following is called "A 
Prayer to the Blessed Virgin."t Can any thing more 
entirely place on a perfect level with each other the 

who are resolved, at whatever sacrifice of truth and reason, to 
make every thing bear upon their favourite theory. What counte- 
nance can be given to Christians now invoking in prayer Joseph the 
husband of Mary, by the circumstance of Pharaoh having told the 
Egyptians, when crying to him for bread, to go to Joseph his minister, 
who had the charge of those things ? " Go to Joseph" — it is a mere 
trifling play upon a word in things where the salvation of souls is at 

* Dublin, 1836. ^ p. ^q_ 


Eternal Son of God, and the Virgin — Jesus and 

" O Mary, what would be our poverty and misery 
if the Father of mercies had not drawn you from his 
treasury to give you to earth ! Oh ! my Life and Con- 
solation ! I trust and confide in your holy name. My 
heart wishes to love you ; my lips to praise you ; my 
mind to contemplate you ; my soul sighs to be yours. 
Receive me, defend me, preserve me ; I cannot perish 
in your hands. Let the demons tremble when I pro- 
nounce your holy name, since you have ruined their 
empire ; but we shall say, with St. Anselm, that he 
does not know God, who has not an idea sufficiently 
high of your greatness and glory. We shall esteem it 
the greatest honour to be of the number of your ser- 
vants. Let your glory, blessed Mother, be equal to 
the extent of your name ; reign after God over all 
that is beneath God ; but, above all, reign in mj 
heart. You will be my consolation in suffering, my 
strength in weakness, my counsel in doubt. At the 
name of Mary, my hope shall be enlightened, my love 
inflamed. Oh that I could deeply engrave the dear 
name on every heart, suggest it to every tongue, and 
make all celebrate it with me. Mary! sacred name, un- 
der which no one. should despair. Mary! sacred name, 
often assaulted, but always victorious. Mary .' it shall 
be my life, my strength, my comfort. Every day shall 
I invoke it and the divine name of Jesus. The Son 
shall awake the recollection of the mother, and the 
mother that of the Son. Jesus and Mary ! this is 
what my heart shall say at my last hour, if my tongue 
cannot. I shall hear them on my death-bed ; they 
shall be wafted on my expiring breath, and I with 
them, to see them, know them, bless and love them 
for eternity. Amen." 



Alphonso Liguori, who died in 1787, was canonized 
by the present Pope in 1839; the Sacred Congregation 
of Rites having pronounced his works uncensurahle, 
and Pope Pius VII., in 1803, having approved of their 
sentence. In his works we ftnd sentiments the same 
with those which we have already cited from the Ber- 
nardines, Bonaventura, and others of former days, and 
which shew that the worship of the Virgin is now 
what it was in their times. 

In his " Glories of Mary,"* among other passages of 
similar import, we read the following : 

" If Ahasuerus heard the petition of Esther through 
love, will not God, who has an infinite love for Mary^ 
fling away at her suit the thunderbolts which He was 
going to hurl on wretched sinners ? Will God reject 
her prayer ? Is it not of her it was said, ' The law of 
clemency is on her lips ?' Indeed every petition she 
offers is as a law emanating from the Lord, by 
which He obliges himself to be merciful to those for 
whom she intercedes." f 

" Hope of the universe ! My only hope ! Come to 
my assistance. ^ 

" ' From the moment that Mary consented to become 
the Mother of God,' says St. Bernardine of Sienna, 
' she merited to receive sovereignty over all creatures.' 
' Mary and Jesus liaving but one and the same flesh," 
saith. St. Arnaud, abbot, ' why should not the mother 
enjoy conjointly with the Son the honours of royalty ? 
Mary is then Queen of the universe, since Jesus is its 
King.' Thus, as St. Bernardine again observes, 'As 

* " Thfi Glories of Mary, Mother of God, translated from the Italian 
of Blessed Alphonso Liguori, containing a beautiful paraphrase on the 
' Salve Regina.' " — Dublin, 1833. 

t Pp. 16, 17, i p. 40. 


many creatures as obey G od, so many obey the glorious 
Virgin.' ' I am,' said she to St. Bridget, ' the Queen 
of heaven and Mother of mercy. I am the joy of 
the just, and the gate through which sinners go to 
God.' Queen of heaven and earth, Mother of God, my 
Sovereign mistress, I present myself before you, as a 
poor mendicant before a mighty queen. No grace, no 
pardon, emanates from the throne of the King of 
kings without passing through the hands of Mary, ac- 
cording to St. Bernard. The plenitude of grace is 
found in Jesus Christ as the head, whence it flows to 
Mary, who communicates it to all his members. No 
doubt, Jesus the Man-God alone suffered to effect our 
redemption; but it was more convenient, that, both 
sexes having concurred to our ruin, both should con- 
spire to save us. Albertus Magnus styles Mary ' the 
coadjutrix of our redemption.' All is subject to 
Mary's empire, even God himself. Jesus has ren- 
dered Mary omnipotent: the one is omnipotent by 
nature, the other is omnipotent by grace. St. Ger- 
manus says to Mary, ' You, O Holy Virgin, have over 
God the authority of a mother, and hence you obtain 
pardon for the most obdurate sinners.' It is impossi- 
ble that a true servant of Mary should be damned. 
' My soul,' says the blessed Eric Suzon, ' is in the 
hands of Mary ; so that, if the Judge wishes to con- 
demn me, the sentence must pass through this clement 
Queen, and she knows how to prevent its execu- 
tion !'"* 

These words are extracted from the works of one 

who died only in 1787, and was canonized by the pre- 
sent Pope, with all solemn pomp, only in the year 
1839. Is Rome changed ? 

* See Mr. Palmer's Fifth Letter to Dr. Wiseman, p. 80. 

F 2 


" St. Anselm, to increase our confidence in Mary, 
assures us that our prayers will often be more speedily 
heard in invoking her name, than in calling on that of 
Jesus Christ."* 

" Dispensatrix of the Divine grace, you save whom 
you please ; to you then I commit myself, that the 
enemy may not destroy me."f 

" We, holy Virgin, hope for grace and salvation 
from you, and since you need but say the word, ah ! 
do so : you shall be heard, and we shall be saved." t 

" Be mindful of the holy Church, be thou its guar- 
dian and its protectress, be thou always to it a sweet 
asylum, an impregnable fortress against all the efforts 
of hell. Be thou our way, by which we may go to 
Jesus, and the channel through which may flow to us a,ll 
the graces necessary to our salvation."^ So far Liguori. 

In the " New Month of Mary"|| this prayer is of- 
fered to the Virgin : 

" O most powerful, because most faithful of God's 
creatures, I presume to approach thee with a lively 
sentiment of my own unworthiness to address God, 
whose indignation I have so much deserved ; and with 
a strong conviction in the efficacy of thy intercession 
with Jesus, thy divine Son, who has placed in thy 
hands all power and strength. May these sentiments 
alvyays increase within me, that I may never presume, 


The " Hebdomas Mariana,"^ a devotional work "for 
every day in the week in honour of the most Glorious 
Virgin-Mother of God, in order to obtain the grace of 
a happy death," in the midst of many others to the 

* P- 96. f p. 100. J P. 137. 

§ " Sacred Heart of Jesus." Dublin, 1854.; p. 33. 
II London, 1841 ; p, 72. 1[ Dublin, 18S9. 


same effect, contains the following prayers : " O Holy 
Mary, merciful Queen of Heaven, Daughter of God 
the Father, Mother of God the Son, Spouse of 
the Holy Spirit, noble Couch of the whole Trinity; 
elected by the Fatlier, preserved by the Son, be- 
loved by the Holy Ghost ; overshadowed by the 
Father, inhabited by the Son, filled with all grace 
by the Holy Ghost ; through thee and for thee 
may I be blessed by God the Father, who created 
me ; may I be blessed by God the Son, who re- 
deemed me by his most precious blood; may I be 
blessed by God the Holy Ghost, who sanctified me in 
baptism ; and may the most Sacred Trinity, through 
THY intercession, receive my soul at the hour of 
death." * 

" O Holy Mary, Mother of our Redeemer ! say at 
the hour of my death that thou art my mother, that I 
may be blessed, and that my soul may live for thee. 
And if I shall be sent to that prison of burning until I 
pay the last farthing, may thy mercy descend with me 
to refresh me in tbe flames, to solace me in my tor- 
ments, that I may say, ' According to the multitude 
of my sorrows in my heart, may thy consolations re- 
joice my soul.'f Thou, O mother, then hasten to assist 
me : let not thy Son depart until He shall have blessed 
me, and remitted all my debts, because thou hast 

The following prayers are published for those who 
are admitted into the " Pious Confederation of the 
most Holy Mary, Mother of Providence, the auxi- 

* Pp. 3, 4. 

t Like Bonaventura's psalms, this modem prayer applies to the 
Virgin Mary the pious sentiments of the psalmist towards the Eternal 
Father. + Pp. 13, 14. 


liatrix of ChristiaBS, canonically established at 

" O Mother of God, most Holy Mary ! how many 
times have I by my sins deserved hell. Already, per- 
haps, would the sentence on my first sin have been 
executed, if thou hadst not compassionately delayed 
the divine justice ; and then, overcoming my hardness, 
hadst drawn me to have confidence in thee. And, ! 
into how many crimes, perhaps, should I have fallen, 
in the dangers which have happened to me, if thou, 
affectionate mother, hadst not preserved me with the 
grace which thou hadst obtained for me," &c. 

Here, as elsewhere, Mary is put before the under- 
standings and hearts of Christians as the benign power 
which stays divine justice, when the God of mercy 
without her intervention would have poured out his 
vengeance on the guilty ; and as the watchful and 
loving guardian who preserves the soul from sinning, 
when the Holy Spirit, without her grace, would have 
suflfered the soul to fall under the temptation and 

But we must not dwell longerf on this painful proof 
of the excessive departure from Gospel truth and pri- 
mitive faith, into which our Roman Catholic brethren 
(as it should seem, inevitably) run in the worship of the 

When we read in the works of different ages and of 
distant countries such tenets as these, expressed in the 
solemn act of prayer : 

* Rome, with permission, 1835. 

t Cumulative evidence to the same effect will be found in a late 
work called " Mariolatry." Painter, 1841. 


That the sentence on our sins might have been exe- 
cuted by God, if Mary had not stayed the divine justice; 

That we might have fallen into many sins, had not 
Mary, by her grace, preserved us from falling ; 

That she can refresh the tormented soul even in the 
place of burning ; 

That our prayers may be sometimes more speedily 
heard when we invoke Mary's name, than when we 
pray to the Lord Jesus ; 

That she is the way through which alone we can go 
to Jesus, and the only channel through which divine 
grace can flow into our souls ; 

That, when our sins make us unworthy to address 
God, we are to approach Mary, and place our entire 
hope and confidence in her ; 

That God, for the infinite love He has to Mary, will 
fling away, at her suit, the thunderbolt which He was 
on the point of hurling on wretched sinners ; 

That when the Eternal and Omnipotent Judge of 
all the earth, who cannot but do right, wishes to con- 
demn THE GUILTY, Mary knows how to prevent the 


That when the self-condemned sinner feels himself 
placed between heaven and hell, and death is at hand, 
he meets death with submission, because God has or- 
dained it ; but, despite of the natural horror of death, 
he will die with pleasure, because he dies under 
Mary's protection ; — 

When we find these, and unnumbered other senti- 
ments equivalent in their force and bearing to these, 
we are indeed constrained to say, Can the religion 
which sanctions and prescribes these things be the 
Christian religion ? — the religion which the one Me- 
diator brought down with Him from the eternal and 


only God in heaven? In these sentiments we hear 
not the voice of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus; in 
these representations we see no sign of that Lamb of 
God whose blood cleanseth from all sin, and who, for 
the great love wherewith He loved us, is gone before 
to prepare a place for us with himself for ever. In 
the words of one * who, with soundness of faith and 
fervent piety, unites a charitable but uncompromising- 
maintenance of the truth against any of the varied 
corruptions of superstition and misbelief: — 

"As though all human sympathy were not absolute 
deadness in comparison with the exquisite sensibility 
of Him, ' whom in all things it behoved to be made 
like unto his brethren, that He might be a merciful and 
faithful high -priest, touched with the feelings of our 
infirmities ;' ' in all points tempted like as we are, yet 
without sin.' As though all human love were not 
shallowness itself in comparison with the unexplored 
profoundness of those yearnings of affection, which, 
with more power than ever superstition ascribed to 
magic charms, did draw down the Sun of heaven from 
its throne, did clothe the very and eternal Word with 
' the form of a servant,' with the 'likeness of men,' so 
that He ' humbled himself and became obedient unto 
death, even the death of the cross.' As if the Maker of 
woman did not possess in inexhaustible abundance those 
treasures of tenderness from out of whose overflow 
it is that He has adorned the loveliest of his works." 

Let every refinement of distinction be applied be- 
tween the honour due to God, and the honour paid to 
the Virgin ; between the advocacy of Christ, and the 
intercession of Mary; between prayers direct, ^nd 

* The Right Hon. Wm. Ewart Gladstone in his " Church Princi- 
ples." London, 1840; p. 355. 


prayers oblique; between the hope and confidence 
which the apostles, both by their teaching and exam- 
ple, bid the faithful Christian rest on God's mercy in 
Jesus Christ, and the hope and confidence which the 
canonized saints, and the doctors, and Popes of the 
Church of Rome profess to place in the power and 
mercy of Mary : let every explanation which ingenuity 
can devise be applied here, and the practical upshot of 
the whole is a tendency (sometimes direct and abso- 
lute, sometimes indirect, and inferential, and circuitous, 
and so the more perilous and beguiling,) to dispossess 
our Saviour of many, nay, even of all his saving and 
redeeming functions, and to leave to Him only the 
stern, unapproachable character of a judge ; — to wean 
the affections from God, and fix them upon Mary ; — to 
make the personal application of his blood and merits, 
whereby alone we can for a moment stand in the place 
of sons and realize the spirit of adoption, to become 
dependent on her intercession ; — to represent all the 
blessings and graces of the Holy Spirit, his converting 
and enlightening grace, his protecting and guiding 
grace, his strengthening and comforting grace, as all 
shut up in a sealed fountain till her benign and divine 
influence open it, and convey through herself such por- 
tions of the heavenly treasure as she will to those who 
have secured her omnipotent patronage ; — to lead be- 
lievers on to regard Mary as the way, and God in 
Christ as the truth and the life, approachable only by 
that way ; — in a word, to hold forth the Lord God 
omnipotent, the gracious, merciful, loving Father, as 
an object of awe and terror, as the inflexible dispenser 
of divine justice, inflexible except when his love for 
Mary bends Him to be merciful to her votaries ; — and 
thus to make her in very and practical truth (though 


not theoretically, perhaj^s,) the nearest and dearest 
object of a Christian's love. 

But what saith the Scripture to these things ? 

Since the above pages were written, the author has become acci- 
dentally acquainted with a fact of which he was before in ignorance, 
that to such a pitch had the habit risen, not merely of placing otir 
blessed Lord and the Virgin upon an equality, but of setting Jesus 
aside merely to make room for Mary, that the Christian era was made 
to begin, not from the " birth of Christ," but from " the Virgin 
Mother of God." — See Emanuel Acosta's "Acts of the Jesuits in 
the East." Dilingse, 1571. "Ad annum usque a Deipaba Viroine, 






If there is one paramount and pervading principle 
more characteristic of the revealed Word of God than 
any other, it seems to be this, — the preservation of a 
practical belief in the perfect unity of God, and the 
fencing of his worship against the admixture of any 
other of whatever character or form ; the announce- 
ment that the Creator and Governor of the universe is 
the sole Giver of every temporal and spiritual blessing, 
the one only Being to whom his rational creatures 
should pay any religious service whatever, the one 
only Being to whom mortals must seek, by prayer and 
invocation, for the supply of any of their wants. And 
to this principle the New Testament has added an- 
other principle equally essential — that there is one, 
and only one. Mediator between God and man, through 
whom every blessing must be sought and obtained, 
the Lord Christ Jesus, who is ever making interces- 
sion for us. 

As to the first principle, through the entire volume 
the exclusive worship of God alone is insisted upon 
and guarded with the utmost jealousy, by assurances, 
by threats, and by promises, as the God who heareth 


prayer, alone to be called upon, alone to be invoked, 
alone to be adored. Recourse is had (if we may so 
speak) to every expedient for the express purpose of 
protecting the sons and daughters of Adam from the 
fatal error of embracing in their worship any other 
being or name whatever, or of seeking from any other 
than the one Supreme God the supply of their wants : 
not reserving supreme and direct adoration or prayer 
to Him, and admitting some subordinate honour and 
indirect inferior mode of invocation to the most ex- 
alted of his creatures ; but banishing at once and for 
ever the most distant approximation towards prayer 
and religious honour, excluding with uncompromising 
universality the veriest shadow of spiritual invocation 
to any other being than the Most High, God himself 

And with regard to the other principle we read, 
without any qualifying or limiting expression what- 
ever, " There is One God, and One Mediator between 
God and men, the man Christ Jesus."* — " He is able 
also to save to the uttermost them who come unto God 
by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for 
them."f — Nay, the mouth of Him, who spake as never 
man spake, thus solemnly and graciously announces 
the completeness of his own mediation : " Verily, 
verily, 1 say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the 
Father in my name, He will give it you."^ 

Entire pages to the same effect might be added. 
One Mediator has been revealed in his person and in 
his offices, and be is expressly declared to be the One 
Mediator between God and man ; we therefore seek 
God's covenanted mercies through him. But (it will 

* 1 Tim. ii. 5. t Heb. vii. 25. t John, xvi. 23. 


be asked) is the mediatorship of the Son of God ex- 
clusive of all other mediators in heaven ? May there 
not be other mediators of intercession as well as that 
one Mediator of redemption ? We answer. What 
might have been man's duty, had the Almighty been 
pleased to give another revelation for man's guidance, 
is not the question : in the revelation which he has 
given, we find mention made only of one Mediator. 
And if it had been his will that we should approach 
the throne of mercy through any secondary or sub- 
sidiary mediators and intercessors, the analogy of his 
gracious dealings with mankind would compel us to 
expect a revelation of that will, as clear and unquestion- 
able as that which we know he has vouchsafed of the 
mediation and intercession of his Son. His own re- 
vealed will directs us to pray for our fellow-creatures 
on earth, and to expect a beneficial effect from the 
prayers of the faithful upon earth, on our behalf, 
through the mediation of his blessed Son. To pray 
for them, therefore, and to seek their prayers, and to 
wait patiently for an answer, are acts of faith and of 
duty. But that He will favourably answer the prayers 
which we might supplicate other intercessors in the 
unseen world to offer, or which we might offer to 
Himself through their merits and by their mediation, is 
nowhere in the covenant. Instead of this, we find no 
single act, no single word, nothing which even by im- 
plication can be forced to sanction any prayer or reli- 
gious invocation of any kind to any other being except 
God himself alone ; nor any reliance whatever on the 
mediation or intercession of any being in the unseen 
world, save only our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

But is not his holy Mother an exception ? does not 
Scripture teach us to infer that the blessed Virgin 


has great present influence and poM'er ? and that her 
intercession and mediation may be sought in prayer 
addressed to her ? We answer, that we find no trace 
or intimation of anything of the kind. But let us 
search the Scriptures, and see what has been revealed 
on this subject. 


The first intimation given to us that a woman was, 
in the providence of God, appointed to be the instru- 
ment or channel through which the Saviour of man- 
kind should be brought into the world, was made im- 
mediately after the fall, and at the very first day of 
the dawn of salvation. The authorized English ver- 
sion renders the passage thus: "I will put enmity 
between thee and the woman, and between thy seed 
and her seed : it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt 
bruise his heel."* The Roman Vulgate, instead of the 
word "it" reads "she;" the Septuagint renders it 
" he.''' But, whichever of the renderings of the He- 
brew word be correct, for our present purpose it mat- 
ters little. Whether the word here originally dictated 
by the Holy Spirit to Moses be so translated as to 
refer to the seed of the woman generally, or to the 
male child, the descendant of the woman, or to the 
word "woman" itself, — and if the latter, whether it 
refer to Eve, the mother of every child of a mor- 
tal parent, or to the immediate mother of the Re- 
deemer, — no Christian can doubt, that, before the 
foundations of the earth were laid, it was ordained in 
the councils of the Eternal Godhead, that the Mes- 
siah, the Redeemer of mankind, should be born of a 

* Gen. iii. 15. 


woman, and that in the mystery of that incarnation 
the serpent's head should be bruised ; equally indis- 
putable is it, that this prophetic announcement was 
in progress towards its final accomplishment when the 
Lord Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary. 

The only other reference made in the Old Testament 
to the mother of our Lord seems to be the celebrated 
prophecy of Isaiah, about which there can probably 
arise no controversy affecting the question before us : 
" A Virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall 
call his name Immanuel." * 

We need not here refer to those applications of 
Holy Scripture, &c., to the Virgin Mary, (however 
objectionable and unjustifiable they must appear to 
us,) which are made both in the authorized services of 
the Church of Rome, and in manuals of private devo- 
tion ; because they can never be cited in argument, f 


In the New Testament mention by name is made 
of the Virgin Mary by St. Matthew, St. Mark, and 
St. Luke ; and by St. John also in his Gospel, not by 
name, but as the mother of our Lord; and by no other 
writer. Neither does St. Paul, in any one of his va- 
rious Epistles, though he mentions by name many of 
our Lord's disciples, nor St. James, nor St. Peter, who 
must often have seen Mary during our Lord's minis- 
try, nor St. Jude, mention her as living, or allude to 
her as dead ; nor does St. John, though, as his own 
Gospel teaches us, she had been committed to his 

* C. vii. 14. 

+ Such, for example, are the addresses of the Bride in the Song of 
Solomon : and in the Apocryphal Book of Ecclesiasticus, the Praise of 


care of especial trust, in either of his three Epistles, or 
in the Revelation, refer to Mary. 

The first occasion on which in the New Testament 
any reference is made to the Virgin Mary, is the Salu- 
tation of the Angel, recorded in the opening chapter of 
St. Luke's Gospel : the last occasion is when she is 
mentioned by the same Evangelist as " Mary the mo- 
ther of Jesus," in conjunction with the brethren of our 
Lord, and with the Apostles and the women, all con- 
tinuing in prayer and supplication immediately after 
the Ascension.* Between these two events the name 
of Mary occurs under a variety of circumstances, on 
every one of which we shall do well to reflect. 

The first occasion is the Salutation of Mary by the 
Angel, announcing to her that she should be the 
mother of the Son of God. Undoubtedly no daughter 
of Eve was ever so distinguished among- women ; and 
well does it become us to cherish her memory with 
affectionate reverence. The words then addressed to 
her when on earth, with a slight change of expres- 
sion, are daily addressed to her by the Roman Catholic 
Church, now that she is removed to the invisible world : 
" Hail, thou that art highly favoured, [the Vulgate 
reads it "full of grace,"] the Lord is with thee. 
Blessed art thou among women," On the substitution 
of the phrase " full of grace," for " highly favoured," 
or, as our margin suggests, "graciously accepted, or 
much graced," little needs be said. It may be re- 
gretted, that since the Greek is different here and in 
the first chapter of St. John, where the words " full of 
grace " are applied to the only Son of God, a similar 
distinction had not been preserved in the Roman 
* Acts, i. 13, 14. 


translation. The other expression, " Blessed art 
thou among women," is identically the same with 
the ascription of blessedness made by an inspired 
tongue to another daughter of Eve, " Blessed above 
women," or (as both the Septuagint and the Vulgate 
render the word) " Blessed among women shall Jael, 
the wife of Heber the Kenite, be ;"* and in such ascrip- 
tion of blessedness we can see no ground of justification 
for the posthumous worship of the Virgin Mary, The 
same observation applies with at least equal strict- 
ness to that affecting interview between Mary and her 
cousin, when Elizabeth, enlightened doubtless by au 
especial revelation, returned the salutation of Mary by 
addressing her as the Mother of her Lord ; and hailing 
her visit as an instance of most welcome and conde- 
scending kindness : " Whence is this to me that the 
Mother of my Lord should come unto me ?" Mem- 
bers of the Church of England are taught to refer to 
this event in Mary's life with feelings of delight and 
gratitude. It was on' this occasion that she uttered that 
beautiful hymn, "The song of the blessed Virgin 
Mary," which our Church has selected for daily use 
at evening prayer. These incidents bring before our 
minds the image of a pure Virgin, humble, pious, 
obedient, holy : a chosen servant of God — an exalted 
pattern for her fellow-creatures ; but still a fellow- 
creature and a fellow-servant : a virgin pronounced 
by an angel to be blessed. But further than this 
we cannot go. We read of no power, no autho- 
rity, — neither the office and influence of intercession, 
nor the authority and right to command, — being ever, 
even by implication, committed to her ; and we dare 
not of our own minds venture to take for granted a 

* Judges, V. 24. 



statement of so vast magnitude, involving associations 
so awful. We reverence her memory as a holy wo- 
man, the Virgin-Mother of our Lord. We cannot 
supplicate any blessing at her hand : we cannot pray 
to her for her intercession. 

The Angel's announcement to Joseph, whether 
before or after the birth of Christ, the visit of the 
Magi, the flight into Egypt, and the return thence, 
in the record of all of which events by St. Matthew 
the name of Mary occurs, seem to require no especial 
attention with reference to the immediate subject of 
our inquiry, however interesting and important in 
themselves these events are. To Joseph the Angel 
speaks of the Virgin as " Mary thy wife." In every 
other of these cases she is called " the young Child's 
mother," or " his mother." 

In relating the circumstances of Christ's birth, the 
Evangelist employs no words which seem to call for 
any particular examination. Joseph went up into 
the city of David to be taxed, with Mary, his es- 
poused wife; and there she brought forth her first- 
born son, and wrapped him in swaddling-clothes and 
laid him in a manger. And the shepherds found 
Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 
And Mary kept all these things, and pondered them 
in her heart. 

Between the birth of Christ and the flight into 
Egypt, St. Luke records an event to have happened 
by no means unimportant, the presentation of Christ 
in the Temple.'^- " And when the days of her puri- 
fication according to the law of Moses were accom- 
plished, they brought him to Jerusalem to present 
him to the Lord." And he, Simeon, "came by the 
* Luke, ii. 22, 


Spirit into the Temple : and wlien the parents brought 
in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of 
the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed 
God and said, ' Lord,' " &c. " And Joseph and his mo- 
ther marvelled at those things which were spoken of 
him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary 
his mother, ' Behold, this child is set for the fall and 
rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign which 
shall be spoken against, (yea, a sword shall pierce 
through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of 
many hearts may be revealed.' " * In this incident 
it is worthy of remark, that Joseph and Mary are 
both mentioned by name, that they are both called 
the parents of the young Child, that both are equally 
blessed by Simeon, and that the good old Israelite, 
illumined by the spirit of prophecy, when he ad- 
dresses himself immediately to Mary, speaks only of 
her future sorrow, and does not even remotely or 
faintly allude to any exaltation of her above the 
other daughters of Abraham.f " A sword shall pierce 
through thine own soul also ; " a prophecy, as many an- 
cient fathers interpret the passage, accomplished when 
she witnessed the sufferings and death of her Son,^ 
and her own faith and stedfastness for a time faltered. 
The next occasion on which the name of the Virgin 
Mary is found in Scripture is the memorable visit of 
herself, her husband, and her son, to Jerusalem, when 
He was twelve years old. And the manner in which 
this incident is related by the inspired Evangelist, 
so far from intimating that Mary was destined to 

* Luke, ii. 35. t See De Sacy, vol. xxxii. p. 128. 

J See, as cited in the latter part of this book, the comments of 
Basil, Augustine, Jerome, Cyril of Alexandria, and others. 


be an object of worship to the believers in her (Son, 
affords evidence strongly bearing in the contrary direc- 
tion. Here, again, Joseph and Mary are both called 
" his parents." Joseph is once mentioned by name, 
and so is Mary. If the language had been so framed 
as on purpose to take away all distinction of pre- 
ference or superiority, it could not more successfully 
have effected its purpose. Not only so : of the 
three addresses recorded as having been made by 
our blessed Lord to his beloved mother (and only 
three are recorded in the New Testament), the first 
occurs during this visit to Jerusalem. It was in 
answer to the remonstrance made by Mary, " Son, 
why hast Thou thus dealt with us 1 Behold, thy 
father and I have sought Thee sorrowing." " How 
is it that ye sought Me? Wist ye not that I must 
be about my Father's business ? " (or, " in my Father's 
house," as some render it.) He makes no distinc- 
tion here, " Knew ye not ? " We may appeal to 
any dispassionate reasoner to pronounce whether this 
reproof, couched in these words, countenances the 
idea that our blessed Lord intended his mother to 
receive such divine honour from his followers, to the 
end of time, as the Church of Rome now pays ; and 
whethei' St. Luke, whose pen wrote this account, 
could have been cognizant of any such right invested 
in the Virgin ? 

The next passage calling for our consideration is 
that which records the first miracle ; " And the third 
day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, and the 
mother of Jesus was there ; and both Jesus was called, 
and his disciples, to the marriage ; and when they 
wanted wine [when the wine failed], the mother of 
Jesus saith unto him, 'They have no wine.' Jesus 


saith unto her, ' Woman, what have I to do with thee ? 
Mine hour is not yet come.'"* 

We need make no remark on the comments which 
different writers of the Roman Catholic communion 
have recommended for the adoption of the faithful. 
Let the passage be interpreted in any way which 
enlightened criticism and the analogy of Scripture 
will sanction, and we may ask. Could any unpre- 
judiced mind, after a careful weighing of the incident, 
the facts, and the words, in all their bearings, expect 
that the holy and beloved person, toward whom 
the meek and tender and affectionate Jesus employed 
this address, was destined by that omnipotent and 
omniscient Saviour to become an object of those reli- 
gious acts with which (as we have seen) the Church of 
Kome daily approaches her? Indeed, Epiphanius,f 
as we shall hereafter see more at large, considers our 
blessed Lord to have employed the word " woman " 
on this occasion for the express purpose of preserving 
subsequent believers in his Gospel from an excessive 
admiration of the Virgin. 

We must now advert to an incident recorded with 
little variety of expression, and with no essential 
difference, by the first three Evangelists. St. Mat- 
thew's, which is the fullest account, is this : " While 
He yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and 
his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with 
him. Then one said unto him, ' Behold, thy mother 
and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with 
thee.' But he answered and said unto him that told 
him, 'Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?' 
And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples 
and said, ' Behold my mother and my brethren. For 

* John, ii. 1 . t On the CoUyridian heresy. 


whosoever sliall do the will of my Father which is 
in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and 
mother."* — Or, as St. Luke expresses it, "And he 
answered and said unto them, ' My mother and my 
brethren are these which hear the word of God and 
do it."'f Humanly speaking, could a more favourable 
opportunity have presented itself to our blessed Lord 
of referring to his beloved mother in such a manner 
as to exalt her above her fellow-daughters of Eve? 
In such a manner, too, as that Christians in after 
days, when the Saviour's bodily presence should have 
been taken away from them, and the extraordinary 
communications of the Spirit of truth should have 
been withdrawn, might have remembered that he 
had spoken those things, and have been countenanced 
by his words in doing her homage. But so far is 
this from the plain and natural tendency of his words, 
that, had he of acknowledged purpose intended to 
guard his disciples to the end of time against sup- 
posing that the love and reverence which they felt 
towards Himself should shew itself in their exaltation 
of his mother above all created beings, language 
would with difficulty have supplied words more adapt- 
ed for that purpose. Nothing in the communication 
made to him seemed to call for such a remark. A 
plain message announces to him, as a matter of fact, 
one of the most common occurrences of daily life ; 
and yet he fixes upon the circumstance as the ground- 
work, not only of declaring the close union between 
himself and faithful obedient believers in him, but 

* Matt. xii. 46. Luke, viii. 21. 

f In a subsequent part of this work the reader will find in what 
strong language Tertullian and St. Chrysostom, and others, comment 
upon this, as it appears to them, unjustifiable intrusion of Mary. 


of cautioning all against any superstitious feelings 
towards those who were nearly allied to him by the 
ties of his human nature. With reverence we would 
say, it is as though he desired to record his foreknow- 
ledge of the errors into which his disciples were 
likely to be seduced, warning them beforehand to 
shun and resist the temptation. The evidence borne 
by this passage against the offering by Christians of 
any religious worship to the Virgin on the ground of 
her having been the mother of our Lord, seems 
clear, strong, and direct. She was the mother of 
the Redeemer of the world, and blessed is she among 
women; but that very Redeemer himself, with his 
own lips, assures us that every faithful servant of his 
heavenly Father shall be equally honoured with her, 
and possess all the privileges which so near and dear a 
relationship with himself might be supposed to con- 
vey: " Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?" 
"Behold my mother and my brethren !"" "Whosoever 
shall do the will of my Father in heaven, the same is 
my brother, and sister, and mother." 

We have equal reason to take notice in this place 
of that most remarkable passage in which our Lord is 
recorded under different circumstances to have ex- 
pressed the same sentiments, but in words which seem 
even more strongly indicative of his desire to prevent 
any undue exaltation of his mother.* " As he spake 
these things, a certain woman of the company lifted 
up her voice and said unto him, ' Blessed is the womb 
that bare thee, and the paps-which thou hast sucked.'" 
On the truth or wisdom of that exclamation our Lord 
makes no remark ; He refers not to his mother at all ; 
not even to assure them (as St. Augustine and others 

* Luke, xi. 27. 


in after-ages taught*), that, however blessed Mary 
might be in her corporeal conception of the Saviour, 
yet far more blessed was she because she had borne 
Him spiritually in her heart. He alludes not to his 
mother, except for the purpose of immediately fix- 
ing the minds of his hearers on the sure and greater 
blessedness of his faithful disciples to the end of 
time. " But he said, ' Yea rather [or, as some pre- 
fer, ' yea verily and '] blessed are they that hear 
the word of God and keep it.'" Again, it must be 
asked, Could such an exclamation have been met by 
such a reply, had our Lord's will been to exalt his 
mother as she is now exalted by the Church of Rome ? 
Rather, we reverently ask. Would he have given this 
turn to such an address, had he not desired to check 
any such feeling towards her ? 

That affecting and edifying incident recorded by 
St. John, as having taken place whilst the Lord Jesus 
was hanging on the cross, (an incident which speaks 
to every one who has a mind to understand and a 
heart to feel,) brings before us the last occasion on 
which the name of the Virgin Mary occurs in the 
Gospels. No paraphrase could add force, or clearness, 
or beauty, to the narrative of the Evangelist ; no ex- 
position could bring out its parts more prominently 
or powerfully. The calmness and authority of our 
blessed. Lord, his tenderness and affection, his filial 
love in the very midst of his agony, it is impossible 
for the pen of man to describe with more heart-stir- 
ring and heart-soothing pathos. But not one syllable 
falls from the lips of Christ, or from the pen of the be- 
loved disciple, which can be construed to imply that our 
blessed Lord intended Mary to be held by his disciples 

* See De Sacy, vol. xxxii. p. 35. 


in such honour as would be shewn in the offering of 
prayer and praise to her after her dissolution. He, 
who could by a word have bidden the whole course of 
nature and of providence to minister, to the health 
and safety, the support and comfort, of his mother, 
leaves her to the care of one whom he loved, and 
whose sincerity and devotedness to him he had, hu- 
manly speaking, long experienced. He bids him be- 
have to Mary as he would to his own mother ; he 
bids Mary look to John as to her own son for sup- 
port and solace. " Now, there stood by the cross of 
Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the 
wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus, 
therefore, saw his mother, and the disciple standing 
by, whom he loved, he said unto his mother, * Woman 
behold thy son;' then said he to the disciple, 'Behold 
thy mother.'" And he added no more. If Christ 
willed that his beloved mother should end her days in 
peace, removed equally from the want and desolation of 
widowhood on the one hand, and from splendour and 
notoriety on the other, nothing could be more natural 
than such conduct, in such a Being, at such a time. But 
if his purpose had been to exalt her into an object of 
religious adoration, that nations should kneel before 
her, and all people do her homage, and to teach all 
his followers to look to her as the channel through 
which the favours and blessing of Heaven were to be 
conveyed to mankind, then the words and the conduct 
of our blessed Lord at this hour seem to be inexplica- 
ble ; and so also would be the words of the Evange- 
list, closing the narrative, " And from that hour, that 
disciple took her unto his own home." 

Subsequently to this, not one word falls from the 
pen of St. John which can be made to bear on the 


station, the person, or the circumstances of Mary. 
After his resurrection, our Saviour remained on earth 
forty days before he finally ascended bodily into 
heaven. Many of his interviews and conversations 
with his disciples during that interval are recorded 
in the Gospel. Every one of the four Evangelists re- 
lates some act or some saying of our Lord on one or 
more of those occasions. Mention is made by name 
of Mary Magdalene, of Mary [the mother] of Joses, 
of Mary [the mother] of James, of Salome, of 
Peter, of Cleophas, of the disciple whom Jesus 
loved, at whose home the mother of our Lord then 
was ; of Thomas, of Nathanael, and generally of 
the eleven. But by no one of the Evangelists is re- 
ference made at all, in the Gospels, to Mary, the 
mother of our Lord, as having been present at any 
one of those interviews ; her name is not alluded to 


On one solitary occasion subsequently to Chrisfs 
ascension, mention is made of Mary his mother in 
company with many others, and without any further 
distinction to separate her from the rest. " And when 
they were come in [from witnessing the ascension], 
they went up into an upper room where abode both 
Petef and James, and John and Andi-ew, Philip and 
Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of 
Alpheus and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of 
James. These all continued with one accord in prayer 
and supplication with the women, and Mary the mo- 
ther of Jesus, and with his brethren."''" Not one 
word is said as to Mary having been present to wit- 

* Acts, i. 13. 


ness even the ascension of her blessed Son ; we read of 
no command from our Lord, no wish expressed, no dis- 
tant intimation to his disciples, that they should shew 
to her even marks of respect and honour ; no allusion 
is there made to her superiority or pre-eminence. 
Sixty years at the least are generally considered to be 
comprehended within the subsequent history of the 
New Testament before the Apocalypse was written; 
but neither in the narrative, nor in the Epistles, nor 
yet in the prophetic part of the Holy Book of truth, 
is there the most distant allusion to Mary. Of him 
to whose filial care our dying Lord committed his mo- 
ther we hear much. John we find putting forth the 
miraculous power of Christ at the Beautiful Gate of 
the Temple ; we see him imprisoned and arraigned 
before the Jewish authorities ; but not one word is 
mentioned as to what meanwhile became of Mary. 
We see John confirming the Church in Samaria ; we 
see him an exile in the island of Patmos ; but no men- 
tion is made of Mary : nay, though we have three 
of his Epistles, and the second of them addressed to 
one whom he loved in the truth, we can trace no 
single allusion to the mother of our Lord, alive or 
dead. And, whatever may have been the matter of 
fact as to St. Paul, neither the many letters of that 
Apostle, nor the numerous biographical incidents re- 
corded of him, intimate in the most remote degree 
that he knew anything whatever concerning Mary in- 
dividually. St. Paul does indeed refer to the human 
nature of Christ derived from his human mother ; and 
had he been taught by direct revelation, or by his 
fellow-Apostles (older in the ministry), to entertain 
towards her such sentiments as the Roman Church 
now professes to entertain, he could not have found a 


more inviting occasion to give utterance to tliem. 
But, instead of thus speaking of the Virgin Mary, he 
does not even mention her name or condition at all ; 
referring only in the most general way to a daughter 
of Adam, of whom the Son of God was born : "But 
when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth 
his Son made of a woman, made under the law to 
redeem them that were under the law, that they 
might receive the adoption of sons."* 

Thus, from a time certainly within a few days of our 
Saviour's ascension, the inspired volume is totally 
silent throughout as to Mary, whether in life or in 


This absence of evidence in Holy Scripture as to 
the birth, life, death, glories, and power of the Virgin 
Mary, seems to have been felt sensibly by many of 
her most zealous votaries. To supply such want of 
countenance and of sanction to the honours now paid 
to her in the Church of Rome, various expedients 
have been adopted. The doctrine of progressive de- 
velopment has been much relied on ; and revelations 
of her influence and majesty made by herself to many 
of her most famous "worshippers have been alleged ; 
especially are we referred to the Revelations made by 
the Virgin to St. Bridget.f 

But another solution of this difficulty has been 
offered, on which we shall make no comment ; since 
few probably of the most ardent propagators of the 
doctrine of development will acknowledge it as their 
own : " The silence," it is said, " of Holy Scripture as to 
Mary's birth and circumstances (less being recorded of 

■"■ Gal. iv. 4. t Diptycha Mariana, voi. vii. p. 20. 


her than of John the Baptist) was designed, and for this 
very purpose, to be an encouragement to the -votaries 
of Mary ; God, wishing to countenance and second 
their pious zeal, omitted the record of those particu- 
lars which are now celebrated by her worshippers, 
that they might have ample room for the full exercise 
of their piety, and for their religious and reasonable 
invention and propagation of novelties concerning her." 

Hence the open confession, (which to us savours of 
impiety, and of a presumptuous desire to fill up what 
God himself has not been pleased to reveal,) that, if her 
Son Jesus had omitted anything concerning Mary, 
her faithful and zealous servants would supply what 
was wanting.* 

Others however affirm, that though not in Holy 
Scripture, yet in the early Fathers of the Church the 
mediation of the Virgin is recognized and taught, and 
prayers to her for blessings from heaven are sanctioned 
and prescribed. The chief business of the present work 
is to shew, that for at least five hundred years the 
worship of the Virgin had no place or name in the 
Church. And on this part of our professed object we 
now enter. 

* Diptycha Mariana, vii. p. iv. 





The entire worship of the Virgin Marj seems to be 
built upon a belief in the miraculous removal of her 
person, body and soul, from earth into heaven, which 
is called her Assumption; and since this supposed 
event is not represented by any to have taken place 
subsequently to the time when the canon of Holy 
Scripture closes, the present appears the proper place 
for inquiring into the evidence on which the belief in 
so wonderful a transaction is built. 

By the Church of England festivals are observed in 
commemoration of two events relating to Mary as the 
mother of our Lord, — the announcement of the Sa- 
viour's birth by the message of an angel, called " The 
Annunciation of the blessed Virgin Mary;" and the 
presentation of Christ in the Temple, called also " The 
Purification of St. Mary the Virgin." 

In the first of these solemnities we are taught to 
pray, that as we have known the incarnation of the 
Son of God by the message of an angel, so by his 
cross and passion we may be brought to the glory of 
his resurrection. In the second we humbly beseech 
the Divine Majesty, that as his only-begotten Son was 
presented in the Temple in the substance of our flesh, 
so we may be presented unto God with pure and clean 
hearts by the same his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 
These days are observed, to commemorate events de- 


dared to us on the most sure warrant of Holy Scrip- 
ture ; and these prayers are primitive and evangelical. 
They pray to God alone for spiritual blessings, and 
only through his Son. The second prayer was used in 
the Church from very early times, and is still retained 
in the Roman Breviary;* instead of the first, f we un- 
happily now find there a prayer supplicating that those 
who use it, " believing Mary to be truly the mother of 
God, may be aided by her intercession with Him.":|; 

In the Roman Church, on the other hand, feasts^ are 
dedicated to the Virgin Mary in which the Church of 
England cannot join ; such as the Nativity of the Vir- 
gin Mary, and her Immaculate Conception. It is to 
be regretted, that by appointing a service and a collect 
commemorative of the immaculate conception of the 
Virgin in her mother's womb,]) and praying that the ob- 
servance of that solemnity may procure the votaries an 
increase of peace, the Church of Rome has given 
countenance and sanction to a novelty and a supersti- 
tion, against which at its commencement, so recently 
as the 12th century, St. Bernard^ strongly remon- 
strated with the monks of Lyons; a superstition 
which has been often defended and explained by ar- 
guments and discussions, which, by laying aside all 
feelings of delicacy, have been in no way profitable 
to the head or to the heart. 

* Hus. Brev. Rom. H. 536. 

■\ This collect alao is found in the Roman Missal, as a prayer at 
the post-communion, though it does not appear in the Breviary. 

X V. 496. 

§ Every Saturday, with few exceptions, throughout the year, is 
dedicated in the Roman Church to the Virgin Mary ; and, without a 
specific cause to the contrary, the prescribed offices must be performed 
in public or private. 

II H. 445. IT Ep. 174. Paris, 1632; p. 1538. 


Of all these institutions in honour of the Virgin the 
feast of the Assumption is, as it were, the crown and 
the consummation.* Before such a solemn office of 
praise and worship were ever admitted among the insti- 
tutions of the religion of truth, its originators and com- 
pilers ought to have built on sure grounds ; careful, too, 
should those persons be now who join in the service, 
and lend it the countenance of their example ; more 
especially should every one sift the evidence well, who 
undertakes to defend and uphold it, lest they prove at 
the last to love Rome rather than the truth as it is in 
Jesus. So solemn, so marked a religious service in 
the temples and at the altar of Him who is the truth, 
ought to be founded on most sure warrant of Holy 
Scripture, or at the least on undisputed historical evi- 
dence as to the alleged matter of fact on which it is 
built,t the certain and acknowledged testimony of the 
Church from the very times. Those persons incur a 
momentous responsibility who aid in propagating for 
religious verities the inventions of men. 


But what is the fact with regard to the assumption of 
the Virgin Mary ? It rests on no authentic history ; it 

* " The Assumption of the Virgin Mary is the greatest of all the fes- 
tivals which the Church celebrates in her honour. It is the consum- 
mation of all the other great mj'steries by which her life was rendered 
most -wonderful. It is the birth-day of her true greatness and glory, and 
the crown of all the virtues of her whole life, which we admire single 
in her other festivals." — Alban Butler, vol. viii. p. 1 75. 

f Very different opinions are held by Roman Catholic writers as to 
the antiquity of this feast. All, indeed, maintain that it is of very 
ancient introduction ; but, while some with Lambecius (lib. viii. p. 286) 
hold the antiquity of the festival to be so remote that its origin can- 


is supported by no primitive tradition. We find the 
most celebrated defenders of the Roman Catholic 
cause, instead of citing such evidence as would carry 
the faintest semblance of probability, appealing to his- 
tories written more than a thousand years after the 
alleged event, to forged documents, and to vague ru- 
mours. It is quite surprising to find them, instead of 
alleging and establishing by evidence what God is 
said by them to have done, contenting themselves 
with asserting his omnipotence in proof that the doc- 
trine implied no impossibility ; dwelling on the fitness 
and reasonableness of his working such a miracle in 
honour of so distinguished a vessel of mercy ; and, 
whilst they take the fact for granted, substituting, in 
the place of argument, glowing and poetical descrip- 
tions of what might have been the joy in heaven, and 
M'hat ought to be the feelings of mortals on earth. At 
every step of the inquiry into the merits of the case 
the principle recurs to our mind, that, as men really and 
in earnest looking onward to a life after this, our duty 
is to inquire, not what God could do, nor what we 
might pronounce fit that God should do, but what He 
has done. The very moment a Christian writer be- 
takes himself from evidence to possibilities, he betrays 
his ignorance of the first principles of Christianity, 
and throws us back from the sure and certain hope of 
the Gospel to the "beautiful fable" of Socrates, and 

not be traced, thence inferring that it was instituted by a silent and 
unrecorded act of the Apostles themselves, others (among whom Kol- 
larius, the learned annotator on the opinion of Lambeeius) acknow- 
ledged that it was introduced by an ordinance of the Church, though 
not at the same time in all countries of Christendom. That anno- 
tator would assign its introduction at Rome to the 4th century, at 
Constantinople to the 6th, in Germany and France to the 9th. 



his exclamation before his judges, " It were better to 
be there than here, if these things are true." 

We must now inquire into the facts of the case. 
In the first place, it is by no means agreed upon by the 
writers on the subject, what was the time, or what was 
the place, of the Virgin's death. While some have 
maintained that she breathed her last at Ephesus, the 
large majority affirm that her departure from this 
world took place at Jerusalem : and, as to the time of 
her death, some have assigned it to a.d. 48, (about the 
time when Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch,*) 
whilst others refer it to later dates ; none, however, 
fixing it at a period subsequently to that at which the 
canon of Scripture closes. Epiphanius, indeed, towards 
the end of the fourth century, reminding us that 
Scripture is totally and simply silent on the subject 
as well of Mary's death and burial, as of her having 
accompanied St. John in his travels or not, without al- 
luding to any known tradition as to her assumption, 
thus sums up his sentiments : " I dare to say nothing, 
but after consideration am silent !" f Should any per- 
sons have deliberately adopted as the rule of their 
faith the present practice of the Church of Rome, they 
will take no interest in the following inquiry ; but 
well-informed members of that Church assure us, that 
there is a general desire entertained among them to 
have this and other similar questions examined with- 
out prejudice, and the merits calmly placed before 
them. To such persons this chapter may, perhaps, ap- 
pear not unworthy of attention. Those who would 
discard all inquiry on this subject, will find them- 
selves concurring much in opinion with St. Bernard 

* Acts, xiv. 26. t Epiph. vol. i. p. 1043. 


himself, " Exalt her," he says, "who is exalted far above 
the choir of angels, to the heavenly kingdom. These 
things the Church sings to me of her, and it has taught 
me to sing the same things to others. For my part, 
what I have received from it I am secure in holding 
and delivering ; which also, I confess, I am not over- 
scrupulous in receiving. I have, in truth, received 
from the Church, that this day is to be observed with 
the highest veneration, on which she was taken up 
from this wicked world, carrying with her into heaven 
feasts of the most famous joys."* 


With the authorized and enjoined services of the 
Church of Rome on the 15th of August before us, 
we now proceed to examine the evidence on which 
the religious service in honour of the Assumption is 

In the Ritual of the Assumption more than twice 
seven times is it reiterated in a brief space, and with 
slight variations of expression, that Mary was taken 
up into heaven ; and that, not on any general and 
indefinite idea of her beatific and glorified state, but 
with reference to one specific and single act of divine 
favour, performed at a fixed time, effecting (as it is 
called) her Assumption " to-day." " To-day Mary the 
Virgin ascended the heavens. Rejoice because she 

* See Lambecius, lib. viii. p. 286. The letter of St. Bernard is ad- 
dressed to the Canons of Lyons. Paris, 1632; p. 1538. His observa- 
tions in that lettei with the -sriew of disco-antenaneing the rising super- 
stition as to the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary in her 
mother's womb (a superstition now sanctioned by the Roman Ritual) 
deserve the serious consideration of every one, When placed in juxta- 
position with his sentiments here quoted. 

H 3 


is reigning with Clirist for ever."* " Mary the Virgin 
is taken up into heaven, to the ethereal chamber, in 
which the King of kings sits on his starry throne." 
" The holy Mother of God has been exalted above 
the choirs of angels to the heavenly realms." " Come 
let us worship the King of kings, to whose ethereal 
heaven the Virgin-Mother was taken up to-daj." 
And that it is her bodily ascension, her corporeal 
assumption into heaven, and not merely tlie transit 
of her soul from mortal life to eternal bliss, which the 
Roman Church maintains and propagates by this 
service, is put beyond doubt by the service itself, f 
In the fourth and sixth reading, or lesson, for exam- 
ple, we find these sentences : " She returned not into 
the earth, but is seated in the heavenly tabernacles 
How could death devour 1 how could those below 
receive ? how could corruption invade that body, in 
which life was received ? For it a direct, plain, and 
easy path to heaven was prepared." t 

Now, on what authority does this doctrine rest? 
On what foundation-stone is this religious worship 
built ? The holy Scriptures are utterly and pro- 
foundly silent as to the fact, and the time, the manner, 
and the place of Mary's death. Once after the ascension 
of our Lord, and that within eight days, we find 
mentioned the name of Mary, promiscuously with 
others; after that, no allusion to her is made, in life 
or in death ; and no account, as far as it appears, 

* ^st. 595. 

f Lambecius, indeed, (B. viii. p. 306,) distinctly affirms that one 
object which the Church had in view, was to condemn the heresy 
of those who maintained that the reception of the Virgin into heaven 
was the reception of her soul only, and not also of her body. 

X Mst. 603, 604. 


places her death too late for mention to have been 
made of it in the Acts of the Apostles. The his- 
torian Nicephorus Callistus refers it to the fifth 
year of Claudius, that is, about the year 47 ; after 
which time, events through more than fifteen years 
are recorded in that book of sacred Scripture. 

But, closing the holy volume, what light does pri- 
mitive antiquity enable us to throw on this subject ? 
The earliest testimony quoted by the defenders of the 
doctrine that Mary was at her death taken up bodily 
into heaven, is a supposed entry in the Chronicon of 
Eusebius, opposite the year of our Lord 48. This 
is cited by Coccius without any remark, and even 
Baronius rests the date of Mary's assumption upon 
this testimony. The words referred to are these : 
" Mary the Virgin, the mother of Jesus, was taken 
up into heaven, as some write that it has been re- 
vealed to them." * Suppose, for one moment, that 
this came from the pen of Eusebius himself; to what 
does it amount? A chronologist in the fourth century 
records that some persons, whom he does not name, 
not even stating when they lived, had written down, 
not what they had heard as a matter of fact, or re- 
ceived by tradition, but that a revelation had been 
made to them of a fact alleged to have taken place 
nearly three centuries before the time of that writer. 
But, instead of this passage deserving the name of 
Eusebius as its author, it is now acknowledged to be 
a palpable interpolation. Suspicions, one would sup- 
pose, must have been at a very remote date suggested 
as to the genuineness of this sentence. Many manu- 
scripts, especially the seven in the Vatican, were 
known to contain nothing of the kind ; and the Roman 
* Vol. i. p. 403. 


Catholic editor of the Chronicon at Bourdeaux, a.d. 
1604,* tells us, that he was restrained from expung- 
ing it, only because nothing certain as to the assump- 
tion of the Virgin could be substituted in its place ! 
Its spuriousness, however, can be no longer a question 
of dispute or doubt : it is excluded from the Milan 
edition of 1818, by Angelo Maio and John Zohrab ; 
and no trace of it is to be found in the Armenian 
version, published by the monks of the Armenian con- 
vent near Venice, in 1818.f 

The next authority to which we are referred is 
a letter said to have been written by Sophronius the 
Presbyter about the commencement of the fifth cen- 
tury.:!: The letter used to be ascribed to Jerome. 
Erasmus referred it to Sophronius. Baronius says 
it was written by "an egregious forger of lies,"§ who 
lived after the heresies of Nestorius and Eutyches had 
been condemned. Be this as it may ; that the letter 
is of very ancient origin, cannot be doubted. This 

* P. 566. 

f The author visited their convent while that edition of the Chro- 
nicon of Eusebius was in the press ; and he can testify to the appa- 
rent anxiety of the monks to make it worthy of the patronage of 

X The letter is entitled " Ad Paulam et Eustochium de Assump- 
tione B. M. Virginis." It is found in the fifth volume of Jerome's 
Works, p. ,82. Edit. Jo. Martian. 

§ Baronius (Cologne, 1609 ; vol. i. p. 408,) shews great anxiety to 
detract from the value of this author's testimony, whoever he was ; 
sharply criticising him because he asserts that the faithful in his time 
still expressed doubts as to the fact of Mary's assumption. By as- 
signing, however, to the letter a still later date than the works of 
Sophronius, Baronius adds force to the argument for the comparatively 
recent origin of the tradition of her assumption. See Fabricius (Ham- 
burgh, 1804), vol. ix. p. 160. 


document would lead us to conclude, that, so far from 
the tradition regarding the Virgin's Assumption being 
general in the Church, it was a point of grave doubt and 
discussion among the faithful, many of whom thought it 
an act of pious forbearance to abstain altogether from 
pronouncing any opinion on the subject. Whoever 
penned the letter, and whether we look to the sen- 
sible and pious sentiments contained in it, or to its 
undisputed antiquity, the following extract cannot fail 
to be interesting : 

" Many of our people doubt whether Mary was 
taken up together with her body, or went away, leav- 
ing the body. But how, or at what time, or by what 
persons, her holy body was taken hence, or whither 
removed, or whether it rose again, is not known ; 
although some will maintain that she is already re- 
vived, and is clothed with a blessed immortality 
with Christ in heavenly places : which very many 
affirm also of the blessed John the Evangelist, his 
servant, to Avhora, being a virgin, the Virgin was 
intrusted by Christ ; because in his sepulchre, as it 
is reported, nothing is found but manna, which also 
is seen to flow forth. Nevertheless, which of these 
opinions should be thought the more true, we doubt. 
Yet it is better to commit all to God, to whom 
nothing is impossible, than to wish to define rashly 
by our own authority, anything which we do not 
approve of.* Because nothing is impossible with 
God, we do not deny that something of the kind 
was done with regard to the blessed Virgin Mary ; 
although for caution's sake, salva fide, preserving our 
faith, we ought rather with pious desire to think, than 

* These words, stamping the writer's own opinion, " which we 
do not approve of," are omitted by Coccius in his quotation. 


inconsiderately to define what without any danger may 
remain unknown."* 

This letter, at the earliest, was not written until the 
beginning of the fifth century. 

Subsequent writers were not wanting to supply what 
this letter declares to have been, at its own date, un- 
known, as to the manner and time of Mary's assump- 
tion, and the persons employed in effecting it. The 
first authority appealed to in defence of the tradition is 
usually cited as a well-known work written by Euthy- 
mius, who was contemporary with Juvenal, Archbishop 
of Jerusalem ; and the testimony simply quoted as 
his, offers to us the following account of the reputed 
miraculous transaction : f 

" It has been above said that the holy Pulcheria built 
many churches to Christ at Constantinople. Of these, 
however, there is one which was built in Blachernse, in 
the beginning of [the reign of] Marcian of divine me- 
mory. These, therefore, namely, Marcian and Pulcheria, 
when they had built a venerable temple to the greatly 
to be celebrated and most holy Mother of God and 
ever Virgin Mary, and had decked it with all orna- 
ments, sought her most holy body, which had conceived 
God. And having sent for Juvenal, Archbishop of 
Jerusalem, and the Bishops of Palestine, who were 
living in the royal city, on account of the synod then 

* It is a curious fact, that, at the close of the fifth century, 
(a.d. 494,) the Roman Council, with Pope Gelasius at its head, 
among the books not received, specifies as Apocryphal "the book 
which is called the Transitus, that is, the Assumption of the Blessed 
Virgin."— P. 1264. 

t The version of Coccius (who heads the extract merely with these 
words, " Euthumius Eremita. Historiee Ecclesiasticse lib. iii. c. 40) 
differs in some points from the original. Jo. Damas. vol. ii. p. 879. 


held at Chalcedoii, they say to them, ' We hear that 
there is m Jerusalem the first and famous Church of 
Mary, Mother of God and ever Virgin, in the garden 
called Gethsemane, where her body which bore the 
Life was deposited in a coffin. We wish, therefore, her 
relics to be brought here for the protection of this 
royal city.' But Juvenal answered, ' In the holy and 
divinely-inspired Scripture, indeed, nothing is recorded 
of the departure of the holy Mary, Mother of God. 
But from an ancient and most true tradition we 
have received;, that, at the time of her glorious falling 
asleep, all the holy Apostles, who were going through 
the world for the salvation of the nations, in a moment 
of time, borne aloft, came together to Jerusalem; 
and, when they were near her, they had a vision of 
angels, and divine melody of the highest powers was 
heard ; and thus, with divine and more than heavenly 
glory, she delivered her holy soul into the hands of 
God in an unspeakable manner. But that which had 
conceived God, being borne with angelic and apostolic 
psalmody, with funeral rites, was deposited in a coffin 
in Gethsemane. In this place the chorus and singing 
of the angels continued for three whole days. But 
after three days, on the angelic music ceasing, since 
one of the Apostles had been absent, and came after 
the third day, and wished to adore the body that had 
conceived God, the Apostles who were present opened 
the coffin; but the body, pure and every way to be 
praised, they could not at all find. And when they found 
only those things in which it had been laid out and 
placed there, and were filled with an ineffable fra- 
grancy proceeding from those things, they shut the 
coffin. Being astonished at the miraculous mystery, 
they could form no other thought but that He who in 


his own person had vouchsafed to be clothed with 
flesh, and to be made man of the most holy Virgin, 
and to be born in the flesh, — God the Word, and Lord 
of Glory, — and who after birth had preserved her vir- 
ginity immaculate, had seen it good, after she had de- 
parted from among the living, to honour her unconta- 
minated and unpolluted body by a translation before 
the common and universal resurrection.' " 

Such is the passage offered us in its insulated form 
as an extract from Euthymius ! Doubt and uncer- 
tainty hang over this page of ecclesiastical history : no 
doubt as to the credibility of the tradition — that tradi- 
tion cannot be maintained ; but great doubt, thicken- 
ing every step as we proceed, with regard to the 
genuineness and authenticity of the works in which 
the tradition is reported to have been preserved. The 
work from which the above narrative is said to be ex- 
tracted is lost ; an epitome only of that work has come 
down to our time, and in that epitome no trace of the 
tradition is discoverable ! 


We believe that the earliest author, in whose re- 
puted works the tradition is found, is John Damasce- 
nus, a monk of Jenisalem, who flourished somewhat 
before' the middle of the eighth century. The passage 
occurs in the second of three homilies on " The Sleep 
of the Virgin," a term generally used by the later 
Greeks as an equivalent for the Latin word "Assumptio." 

The publication of these homilies in Greek and 
Latin is comparatively of late date. Lambecius,* 
A.D. 1655, says he was not aware that any one had so 

* Vol. viii. p. 281. 


published them before his time.* But, not to raise 
the question of their genuineness, the preacher's in- 
troduction of this passage into his homily is preceded 
by a very remarkable section, affording a striking ex- 
ample of the manner in which Christian orators used 
to indulge in addresses and appeals, not only to the 
spirits of departed men, but even to things which 
never had life. Here the speaker in his sermon ad- 
dresses the tomb of Mary, as though it had ears to 
hear, and an understanding to comprehend ; and then 
he represents the tomb as having a tongue to answer, 
and as calling forth from the preacher and his congre- 
gation an address of admiration and reverence. 

Such apostrophes as these cannot be too steadily 
borne in mind, or too carefully weighed, when any ar- 
gument is sought to be drawn from similar salutations 
offered by ancient Christian orators to Saint, or Angel, 
or the Virgin. 

The following are among the expressions in which 
this preacher addresses the tomb of the Virgin : " Thou, 
O Tomb, of holy things most holy (for I will address 
thee as a living being), where is the much-desired 
and much-beloved body of the Mother of God?"f 
The answer of the tomb begins thus : " Why seek ye 
her in a tomb, who has been taken up on high to the 
heavenly tabernacles ?" In reply to this, the preacher, 
first deliberating with his hearers what answer he 
should make, thus addresses the tomb : t " Thy grace 
indeed is never-failing, and eternal," &c. By the main- 
tainers of the invocation of Saints, many a passage far 
more equivocal and indirect, and less cogent than this, 

* Le Quien, who published them in 1712, refers to earlier homilies 
on the Dormitio Virginis. Jo. Damas. Paris, 1712, vol. ii, p. 857. 
t Vol.ii. p. 875. t P- 881. 


which a preacher here addresses to stone and earth, 
has been adduced to prove that saints and martyrs 
■were invoked hj primitive worshippers. John Damas- 
cenus thus introduces the passage of Eutbymius ; " Ye 
see, beloved fathers and brethren, what answer the all- 
glorious tomb makes to us, and in proof that these 
things are so, in the Euthymiac history, the third book 
and fortieth chapter is thus written word for word." * 
He does not say, " the history written by Euthymius," 
nor " the history concerning Euthymius," but " the 
Euthymiac history." 

Lambecius maintains that the history here quoted 
by John of Damascus was not an ecclesiastical history 
written by Euthymius, who died A. D. 472, but a bio- 
graphical history concerning Euthymius himself, writ- 
ten by an ecclesiastic, whom he supposes to be Cyril 
the monk, who died a. d. 531. This opinion of Lam- 
becius is combated by Cotelerius ; the discussion only 
adding to the denseness of the mist, whicli envelopes 
the whole from first to last. But whether Euthymius 
were the author or the subject of the work, the work 
itself is lost ; an epitome only survives ; and in that 
abridgement no trace is found of the passage quoted 
by John of Damascus. 

Le Quien, the editor of the works of John of Da- 
mascus, offers some very interesting remarks bearing 
imrhediately on the agitated question, as to the first 
institution of the feast of the Assumption, as well as 
on the tradition itself. He infers from the words of 
Modestus, Patriarch of Jerusalem, that scarcely any 
preachers before him had addressed their congregations 
on the departure of the Virgin out of this life ; he 
thinks, that the feast of the Assumption was at the 

* P. 877. 


cotnmencement of the seventh century only recently 
instituted. Whilst all later writers affirm that the 
Virgin was buried in the Valley of Jehosaphat, in the 
Garden of Gethseniane, Le Quien observes, that this 
could not have been known to Jerome, who passed a 
great part of his life in Bethlehem, and yet observes 
a total silence on the subject : though, in his " Epi- 
taph on Paula," he enumerates all the places in Pales- 
tine distinguished by any remarkable event. Neither, 
he adds, could it have been known to Epiphanius, 
wbo, t\iougTa lae \i\ed \oTig in Palestine, yet declares 
that nothing was known as to the death or burial of 
the Virgin. 

Again, Le Quien, in his remarks upon the writings 
falsely attributed to Melito, says, that since the 
Pseudo-Melito speaks many jejune things of the Vir- 
gin, (such, for example, as at the approach of death, her 
exceeding great fear of being exposed to the wiles of 
Satan,) he concludes, from that circumstance, that the 
work was written before the Council of Ephesus', alleg- 
ing this remarkable reason,. that "after that time there 
BEGAN to be entertained, as was right, not only in the 
east, but also in the west, a far better estimate of the 
Mother of God." 

This editor insinuates the possibility of Juvenal 
(whose character he makes no scruple to stigmatize) 
having invented the whole story, in order for his own 
sinister purposes to deceive Marcian and Pulcheria; 
just (he says) as Juvenal forged certain writings for 
the purpose of securing to himself the primacy of Jeru- 
salem — a crime laid to the charge of Juvenal by Leo 
the Great, in his letter to Maximus, Bishop of Antioch.* 

• P. 879. Seealso Leo's Works, vol. i. p. 1215, Epist, cxix,, where 
we still find the charge referred to by Le Quien. 


It is much to be lamented, that, in quoting the ex- 
tracts from John of Damascus, those who employ his 
work as evidence of primitive belief have not pre- 
sented the extract to their readers whole and entire. 
Garbled quotations are always unsatisfactory j and, in 
the present instance, the paragraphs omitted carry 
in themselves clear proof that Juvenal's answer, as 
it now appears in John of Damascus, could not 
have been made to Marcian and Pulcheria by Juve- 
nal, because in it is quoted a passage from " Dionysius 
the Areopagite"* by name, still found in the works 
ascribed to him, but which, as we are compelled to 
believe, did not make their appearance in Christendom 
till the beginning of the sixth century, that is, fifty 
years after the Council of Chalcedon, for the purpose 
of being present at which Juvenal is said to have been 
resident in Constantinople when the emperor and em- 
press held the alleged conversation with him. The 
remainder of the passage from the history of Euthy- 
mius, rehearsed in this oration of John of Damascus, is 
very obscure and very strange. In it James is called 
" the brother of God " [adelphotheos] ; and it ends by 
telling us that the royal personages, having heard the 
report, requ^ested of Juvenal, " that the holy coffin, 
with the clothes of the glorious and all-holy Mary, 
Mother of God, sealed up, might be sent to them " — 
and they " deposited them in the venerable temple of 
the Mother of God built in Blachern^e." 

Of the lessons appointed by the Church of Rome for 
the feast of the Assumption, to be read to believers as- 

* Cardinal Bollarmin maintains the genuineness of these works, 
though he acknowledges that they were never quoted before the time 
of Gregory the Great. He supposes that they had been lost, and 
were only discovered just before that Pope's time ! De Eccles. Script. 


sembled in God's house of prayer, three are selected 
and taken entirely from this very oration of John of 


This, then, is the account of the Virgin's assump- 
tion NEAREST to the time : and can any thing be 
more vague, and, in point of testimony, more utter- 
ly worthless ? It stands thus. A writer near the 
middle of the sixth century refers to a conversation 
said to have taken place a hundred years before ; in 
which, at Constantinople, the Bishop of Jerusalem 
is said to have informed the Emperor of an ancient 
tradition concerning a miraculous event nearly four 
hundred years before, — that the body of Mary was 
taken out of the coffin without the knowledge of 
those who had deposited it there ; whilst the primitive 
and inspired account (recording most minutely the 
journeys and proceedings of some of those very per- 
sons, before and subsequently to the supposed event, 
and the letters of others,) makes no mention at all 
of any transaction of the kind ; and, of all the in- 
termediate historians and writers of every character, 
not one gives the slightest intimation that any rumour 
of it had ever reached them. 

Another authority to which the writers on the 
assumption of the Virgin appeal is Nicephorus Callis- 
tus, who, at the end of the thirteenth or the begin- 
ning of the fourteenth century, dedicated his work 

* The fourth lesson begins, " Hodie sacra et animata area ; " 
the fifth, " Hodie Virgo immaculata ;" the sixth, " Eva qu^ ser- 
pentis." — M. 603. These contain the passages to which we have re- 
ferred as fixing the belief of the Church of Rome in the corpobeal 
assumption of Mary. 


to Andronicus Palseologus. * This Nicephorus was Pa- 
triarch of Constantinople about the reign of our Ed- 
ward I. or Edward II., and cannot be quoted, in any 
sense of the word, as an ancient author writing on the 
events of the primitive ages ; and yet the manner in 
which his testimony is cited by Roman Catholic 
authors would lead us to suppose him to be a man to 
whose evidence on early ecclesiastical affairs we are now 
expected to defer. His account is this :f "In the fifth 
year of Claudius, the Virgin, at the age of 59, was 
made acquainted with her approaching death. Christ 
himself then descended from heaven with a countless 
multitude to take up the soul of his mother ; summon- 
ing his disciples by thunder and storm from all parts of 
the world. The Virgin then bade Peter first, and 
afterwards the rest of the Apostles to come with burn- 
ing torches. The Apostles surrounded her bed, and 
an outpouring of miracles flowed forth. The blind 
beheld the sun, the deaf heard, the lame walked, and 
every disease fled away. The Apostles and others sung 
as the body was borne from Sion to Gethsemane, 
angels preceding, surrounding, and following it. A 
wonderful thing then took place.f The Jews were in- 

* Baronius does not appear to have referred to the history of Euthy- 
mius ; but he refers to Nicephorus, and also to a work ascribed to Mehto, 
c. iv. V. 

■f Nicephorus, Paris, 1630; vol. i. p. 168, lib. ii. c. xxi. Baronius 
also refers to lib. xv. c. xiv. 

J This tradition seems to have been much referred to at the time 
just preceding our English Reformation. In a volume called " The 
Hours of the naost blessed Mary, according to the legitimate rite of 
the Church of Salisbury," printed in Paris, in 1526, the frontispiece 
gives an exact representation of the story at the moment of the Jew's 
hands being cut off. They are severed at the wrist, and lying on the 
coffin, on which also his arms are resting. In the sky the Virgin ap- 
pears between the Father and the Son, the holy dove being seen above 


dignant and enraged ; and one, more desperately bold 
than the rest, rushed forward, intending to throw down 
the holy corpse to the ground. Vengeance was not 
tardy, for his hands were cut off from his arms. The 
procession stopped ; and at the command of Peter, on 
the man shedding tears of penitence, his hands were 
joined on again, and were restored whole. At Geth- 
semane she was put into a tomb, but her Son trans- 
ferred her to the divine habitation." * 

Nicephorus then refers to Juvenal as the authority 
on which the tradition was received, that the Apostles 
opened the coffin, to enable St. Thomas (the one stated 
to have been absent) to embrace the body ; and he pro- 
ceeds to describe the personal appearance and looks of 
the Virgin. 

It would be an unnecessary trespass on the patience 
of any reader, to dwell and comment on such evidence 
as this. And yet on this evidence one of the most 
solemn religious festivals in the Church of Rome, the 
crown and consummation of the rest, is built. Is it 
within the verge of credibility, that, had such an event 
as Mary's assumption taken place under the extraordi- 
nary circumstances which now invest the tradition, or 
under any combination of circumstances whatever, 
there would have been a total silence respecting it in 
the Holy Scriptures ? - that the writers of the first 
four centuries should never have referred to such a 
fact? that the first writer to allude to it should 
have lived in the middle of the fifth century, or later ? 
and that he should have declared, in a letter to his 
contemporaries, that the subject was one on which 
many doubted ; and that he himself would not deny 
it, not because it rested on probable evidence, but be- 
» Vol. i. p. 171. 


cause nothing is impossible with Godi and t\iat no- 
thing was known as to the time, the manner, or the 
persons concerned, even had the assumption taken, 
place? Can we place any confidence in the relation 
of a writer in the middle of the sixth century as to a 
tradition of what an archbishop attending the Coun- 
cil of Chalcedon had told the sovereign at Constanti- 
nople, concerning a tradition of what was said to have 
happened nearly four hundred years before; whilst 
in the Acts of that council not the faintest trace 
is found of any allusion to the supposed fact or 
the alleged tradition, though the transactions of that 
council in many of its most minute details are re- 
corded, and though its discussions brought the name 
and circumstances of the Virgin Mary continually, 
and with most lively interest, before the minds of all 
who attended it ? 

This last fact is a most important point, and will 
be resumed when in the chronological oxdex oi evi- 
dence we come to examine into the testimony borne, 
on the general subject before us, by the records of 
that Council of Chalcedon, and the other councils 
connected with it. 







In pursuing our inquiry into the lawfulness of the 
worship of the Virgin Mary in the Church of Rome, 
we are led to examine the evidence of Christian an- 
tiquity, not by any misgiving, lest the testimony of 
Scripture might appear defective or doubtful, far less 
by any idea of God's word needing the support of 
man's suffrage. On the contrary, the voice of God in 
his revealed word seems to us to give no faint or 
uncertain sound, as it warns us against the lawfulness 
of a Christian offering prayers, or any religious wor- 
ship, or any invocation, to the Virgin Mary ; and it 
must be a fixed principle in the Christian's creed, that 
where God's written word is clear and certain, human 
evidence cannot be weighed against it. When the 
Lord hath spoken, well does it become the whole 
earth to be silent before him ; when the Eternal 
Judge himself hath decided, the witness of man bears 
on its very face the stamp of incompetency and pre- 
sumption. But in testing the soundness of our inter- 
pretation of God's written word, the works of the 
earliest writers of the Christian Church are most valu- 
able; and in our investigation of the prevalence of 

I 2 


any doctrine or practice in primitive times, those an- 
cient records are indispensable. 

Now let it be supposed, that instead of the oracles 
of God's revelation having spoken against the doctrine 
and practice of offering prayer or religious worship 
to any being but God alone, the question had been 
left in Scripture an open question ; then what evi- 
dence would have been deducible from the writings 
of the primitive Church for the worship of the Vir- 
gin? What testimony do the first ages, after the 
canon of Scripture was closed, bear upon this point ? 
When we of the Church of England religiously abstain 
from the presentation of any address of the nature of 
prayer or supplication, entreaty, request, or any invoca- 
tion of whatever kind, and from any acts of religious 
worship and praise to Mary, are we, or are we not, 
treading in the steps of the first Christians, and adher- 
ing to the very pattern which they set ? Do not mem- 
bers of the Church of Rome by such acts of worship, 
directed to the Virgin Mary, as we find in their autho- 
rized and appointed liturgies, and in their works of pri- 
vate devotion, depart as far and as decidedly from the 
model of primitive Christianity as they do from the 
plain sense of Holy Scripture ? The result of a careful 
examination of the body of Christian writers is this, 
that at least through the first five centuries the wor- 
ship of the Virgin, now insisted upon by the Council of 
Trent, prescribed by the Roman Ritual, and actually 
practised in the Church of Rome, had neither name, 
nor place, nor existence among Christians. The 
writers who lived in those times never refer to the 
worship of the Virgin as a practice with which they 
were familiar ; and the principles which they habi- 
tually maintain, and the sentiments with which their 


works abound, are utterly irreconcileable with such a 

Among those indeed who adhere to the Tridentine 
Confession of Faith, there are persons on whom such 
an investigation would not be allowed to exercise any 
influence. The sentiments of the celebrated Huet, 
wherever they are adopted, would operate to the re- 
jection of such inquiries as we are now instituting. 
His words on the immaculate conception of the Vir- 
gin are of far wider application than the immediate 
occasion on which he used them : " That the blessed 
Mary never conceived any sin in herself, is in the 
present day an established principle in the Church, 
and confirmed by the Council of Trent ; in which it is 
our duty to acquiesce, rather than in the dicta of the 
ancients, if any of them seem to think otherwise, 
among whom must be numbered Origen." * 

In the present work, however, we take for granted 
that the reader is still open to conviction, desirous of 
arriving at the truth, and, as one efficient means of 
attaining it, ready to sift honestly and patiently the 
evidence of the primitive church. 


Before we proceed to inquire into the evidence 
afforded by individual writers, either in their own re- 
corded sentiments, or with reference to the prevailing 
belief and practice of their age, it will not be here 
out of place to observe, that, in the most ancient 
creeds there is no intimation whatever of any idea 
being then entertained as to the posthumous exaltation 
of the Virgin, her assumption into heaven, the invoca- 

• Origen's Works, vol. iv. part ii. p. 156. 


tion of her name, reliance on her merits and patron- 
age, or belief in her intercession. Many creeds are 
recorded in the early writers, in which the incarna- 
tion of the Son of God is invariably an article never 
omitted, and in some cases it is dwelt upon largely ; 
but the phrases employed allude to no dignity of 
his mother's nature, no mediatorial office assigned to 
her, no power of benefiting mankind granted to 
her, nor any adoration of her name. The three 
creeds usually employed in the Church now may be 
regarded as affording conjointly a fair specimen of the 
language and sentiments of the rest, some of which 
mention the Virgin by name, others not alluding to 
her further than as St. Paul does, — "born of a wo- 
man." " He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born 
of the Virgin Mary,"* "He was incarnate by the 
Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary;"t "God of the sub- 
stance of his Father, begotten before the worlds ; and 
man of the substance of his mother, born in the 
world." ^ Thus some of the ancient creeds say, "born 
of a Virgin;" others, "born of Mary;" others, "born 
of the holy Virgin Mary;" not one referring to her 
except as the mother of the Incarnate Word, without 
any allusion to her dignity, or authority, or present 
state : and in this respect they all differ essentially 
from the creed of Pope Pius IV., to the belief in the 
truth of which ministers of the Church of Rome are 
bound, as containing articles of faith, without which 
there is no salvation.^ That creed not only announces 
that the saints reigning with Christ are to be wor- 
shipped and invoked, but, whilst it asserts that gene- 
rally due honour and worship must be paid to images 

* Apostles' Creed. f Nicene Creed. J Athanasian Creed. 
§ Catechismus ad Parochos. Lugduni, 1686; p. 521. 


of other saints, joins in a marked manner the images 
of " Christ and the Virgin Mary" together, in contra- 
distinction to the others. Of such things as these there 
is no more trace to be found in any of the ancient 
creeds than in the Holy Scriptures themselves,* 


In sifting the testimony of the most ancient writers 
of the primitive Church, it will be necessary, for the 
satisfaction of all parties, that we examine, in the first 
place, those ancient writings which are ascribed to an 
Apostle, or to fellow-labourers of the Apostles, fami- 
liarly known as " the Apostolic Fathers." They are 
five in number : Barnabas, Clement, Hermas, Ignatius, 
and Polycarp. Some of these works have been gene- 
rally considered spurious, others have been as gene- 
rally pronounced genuine. The question, however, 
of their genuineness, though in itself deeply interest- 
ing, will little affect their testimony on the subject 
before us : whether written or not by the pen of those 
to whom antiquity has referred them, they are wit- 
nesses of the opinions and practices current at the 
time of their composition. No one can reasonably 
doubt that they were all in existence long before the 
Council of Nicsea ; whilst some of them with greatest 
probability may be referred to a point of time within 
the first century after our Lord's death, or even after 
his birth. With all their errors, and blemishes, and 
interpolations, taken at the worst ; — after every rea- 
sonable deduction for defects in taste, and style, and 

* We need not here allude to what are called Ancient Liturgies, 
because none of those whose reputed dates fall within the five hun- 
dred years embraced in the present treatise can even with the greatest 
latitude of admission be regarded as genuine. 


matter, these writings are too venerable for their anti- 
quity, too often appealed to with respect and affection 
by some who have been among the brightest orna- 
ments of the Christian Church, and contain too copious 
a store of evangelical truth, sound principle, primitive 
simplicity, and pious sentiment, to admit of their being 
passed over with levity or neglect. 


In this work,* written probably by a converted Jew 
about the close of the first century, or certainly before 
the middle of the second, we search in vain for any 
trace of the worship or invocation of any being except 
God alone. The writer gives directions on the sub- 
ject of prayer; he speaks of angels as the ministers of 
God ; lie speaks of the reward of the righteous at the 
day of judgement : but he suggests not the semblance 
of a supposition that he either held the doctrine him- 
self which the Church of Rome now holds with regard 
to the Virgin Mary, or was aware of its existence 
among Christians. 

Among his many valuable rules for a Christian's 
guidance we read, " Thou shalt preserve what thou hast 
received, neither adding thereto, nor taking therefrom. 
Thou shalt not come with a bad conscience to thy 
prayer." The closing sentences contain this blessing : 

" Now God, who is the Lord of all the world, give 
to you wisdom, skill, understanding, knowledge of his 
judgements, with patience. And be ye taught of God, 
seeking what the Lord requires of you ; and do it, that 
ye may be saved in the day of judgement. The Lord of 
glory and of all grace be with your spirit. Amen." f 

* The edition here used is that of Cotelerius, revised by Le CJerc. 
Antwerp, 1698. f Pp. 50. 52. 


In this writer there is no mention whatever made 
of the Virgin Mary. 


This work, deriving its name from the circumstance 
of an angelic teacher being represented as a shepherd, 
is now considered by many to have been the produc- 
tion of Hermas, a brother of Pius, Bishop of Rome ;* 
though others are persuaded that it is of a much ear- 
lier date. The writer speaks much of prayer ; but not 
the faintest hint occurs throughout the three books, of 
which the work consists, that he had any idea of wor- 
ship or prayer of any kind being offered to any created 

The following passage, found in the Greek quotation 
from Hermas made by Antiochus (Horn. 85), the Latin 
of which is now read in the second book, ninth man- 
date, is part only of a section, the whole of which will 
repay a careful perusal. 

" Let us then remove from us doubleheartedness 
and faintheartedness, and never at all doubt of suppli- 
cating anything from God, nor say within ourselves, 
How can I, who have been guilty of so many sins 
against Him, ask of the Lord and receive ? But with 
all thine whole heart turn to the Lord, and ask of him 
without doubting ; and thou shalt know his great 
mercy, that he will not forsake thee, but will fulfil the 
desire of thy soul;"f with much to the same effect, 
contrasting very strongly with the modern doctrine of 
approaching Christ through Mary. 

In the twelfth section of the ninth similitude, the 
Latin (the Greek being lost) contains this passage : 

* The appointment of Pius to the see of Rome is generally referred 
to the year 153. f Book iii. sim. 2. 


" These all are messengers ta be reverenced for 
their dignity. By these, therefore, as it were by a 
wall, the Lord is girded round. But the gate is the 
Son of God, WHO is THE ONLY WAY to God. For no 
one shall enter in to God, except by his Son." 

How sad a degeneracy has crept into that Church, 
which now addresses Mary as " the gate of heaven," 
and implores her to be " our way to God ! " 

This primitive writer will not suffer us to be de- 
terred by any consciousness of our own transgressions 
from approaching God himself directly and imme- 
diately ourselves ; but he bids us draw near to the 
mercy-seat of our heavenly Father, through his only 
Son our only Mediator. 

In his works no allusion whatever is made to the 
Virgin Mary. 


It is impossible to read the testimony borne by 
Eusebius,''^ and other ancient writers, to the charac- 
ter and circumstances of Clement, without becoming 
interested in whatever production of his pen may have 
escaped the ravages of time. " Third from the Apos- 
tles," (says Eusebius,) " Clement obtained the bishopric 
of Rome; one who had seen the Apostles and conversed 
with them, and had still the sound of their preaching 
in his ears, and their tradition before his eyes.'" f 

Clement's first epistle to the Corinthians is considered 
by many as the only genuine work of his now extant. 
Archbishop Wake sees reason to believe that it was 
written about a.d. 70 ; others assign it a date twenty 
years later. St. Jerome speaks of it in high terms of 

* Euseb. Eccles. Hist. v. c. 6. 

+ See St. Paul to the Philippians, c. iv. v. 3. 


admiration, and few will read it now without assenting 
to his judgment, that it is a very useful and admirable 
work.'^^ A delightful tone of primitive simplicity per- 
vades it. His testimony to our redemption by the 
atoning sacrifice of Christ, and to the life-giving in- 
fluences of the Holy Spirit, is clear, direct, and repeat- 
ed. Perhaps in our present inquiry this epistle of 
Clement becomes even more interesting, as the pas- 
toral letter of one of the earliest bishops of that 
Church whose present belief and practice we are now 
testing by the evidence of primitive times. In his 
writings diligent search has been made for any ex- 
pression which (as to the point at issue) might throw 
light upon the tenets and practices whether of Cle- 
ment himself, of the Church in whose name he wrote, 
the Churcli whose members he addressed, or the 
Catholic Church at large. But so far from a single 
word occurring which would lead us to suppose that he 
was cognizant of any invocation of the Virgin, or any 
reliance on her intercession prevailing among Chris- 
tians, his evidence is more than negative against it. 
Clement speaks of Angels ; he speaks of the holy men 
of old who pleased God, — Enoch, Abraham, David, 
Elijah, and Job ; he bids us think on Peter and Paul, 
to look to them all with reverence and gratitude, in 
order that we may imitate their good examples. He 
speaks of prayer ; he urges on all the duty of prayer ; 
he specifies the object of our prayers ; he particularizes 
the subjects of our prayers ; but he speaks only of 
prayer to God in the name and for the sake of his 
blessed Son. Of any other mediator or intercessor 
Clement seems to have had no knowledge. 

* Cat. Script. Eccles. Jerom. vol. iv. part. ii. p. 107. Edit, Benedict. 
Paris, 1706. 


Clement speaks of the Lord Jesus having descended 
from Abraham according to the flesh ; but he makes 
no mention of that daughter of Abraham of whom 
Christ was born. 

The following are a few among many passages se- 
lected in furtherance of our present inquiry : 

" Let us venerate the Lord Jesus, whose blood was 
given for us."^-" 

" Let us approach him in holiness of soul, lifting up 
holy and undefiled hands towards him ; loving our 
merciful and tender Father, who hath made us a por- 
tion of his elect." t 

" This is the way, beloved, in which we find Jesus 
Christ our salvation, the Chief-priest of our offerings, 
our Protector, and the Succourer of our weakness. By 
him let us look steadfastly to the heights of heaven; 
by him let us behold his most high and spotless face ; 
by him the eyes of our hearts are opened; by him 
our ignorant and darkened minds shoot forth into 
his marvellous light ; by him the Supreme Governor 
willed that we should taste immortal knowledge ; who, 
being the brightness of his magnificence, is so much 
greater than the Angels, as he hath hj inheritance ob- 
tained a more excellent name than they." % 

" The all-seeing God, the Sovereign Ruler of spirits, 
and the Lord of all flesh, who hath chosen the Lord 
Jesus, and us through him to be a peculiar people, 
grant to every soul, that calleth on his glorious and 
holy name, faith, fear, peace, patience, long-suffering, 
self-control, purity, and temperance, to the good plea- 
sure of his name, through our High-priest and Pro- 
tector, Jesus Christ ; through whom to him be glory 

* C. 21. t C. 29. t C. 36. 


and majesty, dominion and honour, now and forever 
and ever, world without end. Amen." * 

Clement of Rome makes no mention of the Virgin 


This martyr set the seal of his blood to the truth 
about seventy years after the death of our Lord. 
From Antioch of Syria, of which place he was the 
bishop, he was sent to the imperial city, Rome; and 
there, not with resignation only to the divine will, but 
with joy and gladness, he ended his mortal career by 
a death for which he had been long prepared. His 
epistles are written with much of the florid colouring 
of Asiatic eloquence ; but they have all the raciness 
of originality, and they glow with that fervour of 
Christian charity which compels us to love him as our 
father and friend in Christ. 

A careful study of this holy man's literary remains 
brings to light no single trace of any invocation of the 
Virgin. Whether in their genuine form, or in the 
paraphrase which has often passed for the original, 
but which is the work of a subsequent age, we search 
in vain for any intimation, either of his own belief in 
Mary's influence and power, her patronage and inter- 
cession, or of his acquaintance with the existence of 
any such religious opinion in others. One or two 
specimens of his genuine epistles, and of their para- 
phrase, will suffice. The following bear the most 
closely on our subject : 

" There is one Physician, both of a corporeal and of 
a spiritual nature ; begotten, and not begotten ; God 
in the flesh ; true Life in death ; both from Mary and 

* C. 58. 


from God ; first liable to suffering, and then inca- 
pable of suffering.""" 
- The paraphrase of this passage stands thus : 

" Our Physician is the only True God, ungenerated 
and unapproachable, the Lord of all things, the Fa- 
ther and Generator of the only-begotten Son. We 
have also, as our Physician, our Lord God, Jesus 
Christ, -who was before the world, the only-begotten 
Son and the Word, but also afterwards Man of the 
Virgin Mary, for the Word was made flesh."! 

In the same epistle to the Ephesians, he speaks of 
our Lord as " Son of God, and Son of Man, according 
to the flesh of the seed of David."! 

In his epistle to the Magnesians we find these 
words : " At one place be there one prayer and one 
supplication, one mind, one hope in love, in blameless 
rejoicing : Jesus Christ is one, than which nothing is 
better. All then throng as to one temple, as to one 
altar, as to one Jesus Christ, who proceeded from one 
Father, and is in one, and returned to one." Again, 
he says : " Remember me in your prayers, that I may 
attain to God: I am in need of your prayer united 
in God, and of your love." 

In the paraphrase on the epistle to the Philadel- 
phians, among much interesting matter, we read these 
sentences : 

" One is the God of the Old and the New Testament. 
One is the Mediator between God and man, for the 
production of the creatures endued with reason and 
perception, and for the provision of what is useful 
and adapted to them : and One is the Comforter, who 
wrought in Moses, and the Prophets, and the Apostles. 

* Epist. to Ephes. p. 13. sect. 5-7. t ?• 48. C. 7. 

t P. 17. sect. 20. 


All the Saints, therefore, were saved in Christ, hoping 
in him, and waiting for him ; and through him they 
obtained salvation, being Saints worthy of love and 
admiration ; having acquired a testimony from Jesus 
Christ in the Gospel of our common hope,"* 

In his epistle to the Romans he speaks to them of 
his own prayer to God, and repeatedly implores them 
to pray to Christ for him. He prays for his fellow- 
labourers in the Lord ; he implores them to approach 
the Throne of Grace with supplications for mercy on 
his own soul.f 

Of the worship of the Virgin Mary, of any invoca- 
tion of her name, of any reliance on her mediation 
and intercession, Ignatius appears to have been utterly 

And this brings us beyond the close of the first 


The only remaining name among those who have 
been reverenced as Apostolical Fathers is the venera- 
ble Polycarp. He suffered martyrdom by fire, at a 
very advanced age, in Smyrna, about one hundred 
and thirty years after our Saviour's death. Only 
one epistle from this holy man's pen has survived. It 
is addressed to the Philippians, and in it he speaks to 
his brother Christians of prayer, constant, incessant 
prayer : but the prayer of which he speaks is suppli- 
cation only to God ; to any other religious invocation 
he never alludes. In this epistle he admonishes vir- 
gins how they ought to walk with a spotless and 
chaste conscience, but he makes no mention of the 
Virgin Mary. 

* P. 81. sect. 5. f P. 28. sect. 4. 


Before we close our examination of the recorder) 
sentiments of the Apostolical Fathers, we must advert, 
though briefly, to the epistle generally received as the 
genuine letter from the Church of Smyrna to the 
neighbouring churches, narrating the martyrdom of 
Polycarp. With some variations from the copy gene- 
rally circulated, the letter is preserved in the works of 
Eusebius. On the subject of our present research its 
evidence is not merely negative : it purports to con- 
tain not only the sentiments of the contemporaries of 
Polycarp who witnessed his death, and dictated the 
letter, but also the very words of the martyr himself 
in the last prayer which he ever offered on earth. So 
far from countenancing the invocation of any being 
save God alone, or relying upon any one's advocacy 
and intercession except only Christ's, the letter con- 
tains a very remarkable and very interesting passage 
which bears directly against all exaltation of a mortal 
into an object of religious worship. A few extracts 
must suffice : 

" The Church of God, which is in Smyrna, to the 
Church in Philomela, and to all branches of the holy 
Catholic Church dwelling in any place, mercy, peace, 
and love of God the Father and our Lord Jesus 
Christ be multiplied."* 

Before his death Polycarp offered this prayer, or 
rather this thanksgiving, to God for his mercy in 
deeming him worthy to suffer death for the truth. 

" Father of thy beloved and blessed Son, Jesus 
Christ, by whom we have received our knowledge 
concerning thee, the God of Angels and power, and 
of the whole creation, and of the whole family of the 
just who live before thee ; I bless thee because thou 

* Euseb. Paris, 1628, Book i. Hist. iv. c. xv. p. 163. 


hast deemed me worthy of this day and this hour, 
to receive my portion among the number of the 
Martyrs in the cup of Christ, to the resurrection both 
of soul and body in the incorruption of the Holy 
Ghost ; among whom may I be received before Thee 
this day in a rich and acceptable sacrifice, even as 
Thou the true God, who canst not lie, foreshewing 
and fulfilling, hast beforehand prepared. For this 
and for all I praise thee, I bless thee, I glorify 
thee, through the eternal High-priest, Jesus Christ, 
thy beloved Son, through whom, to Thee, with Him 
in the Holy Ghost, be glory both now and for future 
ages. Amen." 

Having described his death, and the anxiety of his 
friends to get possession of the remains of his body, 
the narrative proceeds : 

" Some one then suggested to Nicetes to intreat the 
governor not to give up his body, lest, said he, leav- 
ing the crucified One, they should begin to worship 
him ; and this they said at the suggestion and impor- 
tunity of the Jews, who also watched us when we 
would take the body from the fire. This they did, 
not knowing that we can never either leave Christ, 
who suffered for the salvation of all who will be saved 
in all the world, or worship any other. For Him, being 
the Son of God, we worship ; but the Martyrs, as dis- 
ciples and imitators of our Lord, we worthily love, be- 
cause of their preeminent goodwill towards their own 
King and Teacher, with whom may we become par- 
takers and fellow-disciples." 

In this relic of primitive antiquity we have the 
prayer of a holy Martyr at his last hour, offered to 
God alone, through Christ alone. Here we find no 
allusion to any other intercessor ; no commending of 



the dying Christian's soul to the Virgin. Here also we 
find that Christians oifered religious worship to no one 
but the Lord; while they loved the Martyrs, and kept 
their names in grateful remembrance, honouring even 
their ashes when the spirit had fled. Polycarp pleads 
no other merits, he seeks no intercession, he prays 
for no aid, save only his Redeemer's. 


We have now examined those works which are re- 
garded by members of the Church of Rome, not less 
than by ourselves, as the remains of Apostolical Fa- 
thers ; Christians, who, at the very lowest computation, 
lived close upon the Apostles' time, and who, accord- 
ing to the conviction of many among ancient and mo- 
dern divines, had all of them conversed with the 
Apostles, and heard the word of truth from their 
mouth. The same question offers itself to us under 
different circumstances of great cogency. If the doc- 
trine and practice of worshipping the Virgin as Roman 
Catholics now do ; if the doctrine of her mediatorial 
office ; if the practice of 'praying to her, even for her 
intercession ; if reliance on her power, and influence, 
and merits, had been known and recognized and acted 
upon by the Apostles themselves, and those who were 
successors or disciples of the Apostles, — in the nature of 
things, would not some plain unequivocal indications of 
it have appeared in such writings as these ? — writings 
in which much is said of prayer, of intercessory prayer, 
of the subjects of prayer, of the nature of prayer, of 
the time and place of prayer, the spirit in which to be 
accepted we must offer our prayer, and the persons 
for whom we ought to pray? Does it accord with 


commoiv sense and oTdinaTV experience, -with what we 
shou)£l aspect in other cases, with the analogy of his- 
tory and the analogy of faith, that we should find a 
profound and totaJ silence on the subject of any prayer 
or invocation to the Virgin Mary for her good offices 
and intercession, if prayer or invocation addressed to 
the Virgin Mary had been known, approved, and prac- 
tised in the primitive Church ? 

This brings ns past the middle of the second cen- 

K 2 





Justin, who flourished about a.d. 150, was trained 
from bis early youtb in all the learning of Greece and of 
Egypt. He was born in Palestine of heathen parents, 
but after a patient examination of the evidences of 
Christianity, and a close comparison of them with the 
systems of philosophy which had long been familiar to 
him, he became a disciple of Christ. In those systems 
he found nothing solid or satisfactory, nothing on which 
his mind could rest. In the Gospel he gained all that 
his soul yearned for, as a being destined for immortal 
life, conscious of that destiny, and longing for its accom- 
plishment. His understanding was convinced, and his 
heart was touched ; and, regardless of every worldly 
consideration, he openly professed Christianity, and be- 
fore kings and people, Jews and Gentiles, he pleaded 
for the truth, and preached the religion of the crucified 
Onj; with unquenchable zeal and astonishing effect. 
The evidence of such a man on any doctrine connected 
with our Christian faith must be looked to with in- 

Justin Martyr, in his works,* speaks of public and 
of private prayer ; and he offers prayer, but the prayer 

* Ed. Benedict. Paris, 1742. 


of which he speaks, and the prayer which he offers, are 
addressed to God alone ; and he alludes to no advocate 
or intercessor in heaven, except only the eternal Son 
of God himself. 

In his first Apologia, (or defence, addressed to the 
Emperor Antoninus Pius,) he describes minutely the 
manner in which converts were admitted by baptism into 
the fellowship of Christ's religion, and also the mode 
of celebrating the sacrament of the Lord's Supper ; he 
gives, moreover, an account of the manner in which the 
Christians all assembled for the purpose of public wor- 
ship, and how that worship was conducted. In these 
details many an opportunity offered itself for some 
mention of the Virgin Mary, had she then attained 
that place in Christian worship which she now pos- 
sesses in the Church of Rome ; but her name does not 
occur throughout. " In all our oblations," this is Jus- 
tin's testimony, " we bless the Creator of all things, 
through his son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit."* 

Justin Martyr refers to the Virgin Mary in her 
character of the mother of our Lord ; but we discover 
no trace of any idea of her power or influence, of any 
invocation of her name, any thought of her merits to 
be pleaded in our behalf, any regard to her as a medi- 
ator and intercessor ; nay, we discover no epithet ex- 
pressive of honour, or dignity, or exaltation, beyond 
what we ourselves habitually use. " He therefore calls 
himself the son of man, either from his birth of a virgin 
who was of the race of David and Jacob and Isaac 
and Abraham, or because Abraham himself was the 
father of those persons enumerated, from whom Mary 
drew her origin."f And a little below, he adds, " For 

* Sect, 67, p. 83. t Trypho, sect. 100, p. 195. 


Eve being a virgin, and incorrupt, having received the 
word from the serpent, brought forth transgression and 
death ; but Mary the Virgin, having received faith and 
joy, (on the angel Gabriel announcing to her the glad 
tidings that the spirit of the Lord should come upon 
her, and the power of the Highest overshadow her,) an- 
swered, • Be it unto me according to thy word/ And 
of her was born He of whom wg have shewn that so 
many Scriptures have been spoken ; He by whom God 
destroys the serpent, and angels and men resembling 
[the serpent], but works a rescue from death for such 
as repent of evil and believe in him." In another 
place he says,* " According to the command of God, 
Joseph, taking him together with JNIary, went into 

In the volume which contains Justin's works we find 
" Books of Questions," in which many doubts and diffi- 
culties and objections, as well of Jews as of Gentiles, 
are stated and answered. It is agreed on all sides that 
these are not the genuine productions of Justin, but 
the work of a later hand. The evidence, indeed, ap- 
pears very strong which leads us to regard them as the 
composition of a Syrian Christian, and to assign to 
them the date of the fifth century ; and certainly, as 
oflPering indications of the opinions of Christians at the 
time of their being put together, they are valuable 

Among these Questions an inquiry is made " How 
could Christ be free from blame, who so often set at 
nought his parents ?" The answer is, He did not 
set his mother at nought ; he honoured her in deed, 
and would not hurt her by his words : but the re- 
spondent adds, that Christ chiefly honoured Mary 

* Trypho, sect. 102, p. 196. f Qu. 136, p. 500. 


in that view of her maternal character under which 
all who heard the word of God and kept it were his 
brothers and sisters and mother, and that she who 
surpassed all women in virtue was therefore chosen 
to be the mother of the Saviour. Justin Martyr 
admonishes us strongly against looking to any being 
for help or assistance except God only. Even when 
speaking of those who confide in their own strength 
and fortune and other sources of good, he says, 
in perfect unison with the pervading principles and 
associations of his whole mind, as far as we can read 
them in his works, without any modification or ex- 
ception in favour of the power and influence and 
intercession of the Virgin, " In that Christ said. Thou 
art my God, go not far from me, he at the same time 
taught that all persons ought to hope in God who 
made all things, and seek for safety and health from 
Him alone."* 


In the same volume with the works of Justin 
Martyr, the Benedictine editors have published with 
much care the remains of Tatian, Athenagoras, and 
Theophilus. These were all learned Christians of the 
second century ; and although they do not stand all 
on an equal footing, either with each other or with 
Justin, as examples of purity of doctrine and freedom 
from errors, yet are they all witnesses, as far as they 
go, of the opinions prevalent among Christians in 
their day : and we find their editors, the Benedic- 
tines, when strenuously endeavouring to defend by an- 
cient testimony some doctrines of the Roman Church, 

* Sect. 102, p. 197. 


appealing to the works of each of these authors sepa- 

Tatian, by birth an Assyrian, was a pupil of Jus- 
tin Martyr: his life was, beyond others, marked by 
severe austerity. One work of his remains to the 
present time, " An Address to the Greeks ;" in which 
he exposes the follies and immoral tendencies of their 
theology. In the course of his argument, mentioning 
many of the females by name whom the Greek poets 
had immortalized, he compares them with the modest 
and chaste and retired habits of Christian virgins, who, 
he says,* as they are occupied with their distaff, speak 
of heavenly things, and what they learn from God's 
oracles, far more admirably than Sappho could sing 
her immoral strains. The question, forces itself on 
our mind as we read such portions of his address 
as these, Could a Christian writer have here ab- 
stained from speaking of the Virgin Mary, if she 
had been the same object of his invocation, the same 
source of his hope, the same theme of his praise, as 
she now is with worshippers in the Roman commu- 
nion ? Could he have passed her by unnamed, with- 
out an allusion to her honour on earth, or her ex- 
altation to heaven, and her influence there 1 

Athenagoras was a Christian philosopher of consi- 
derable reputation. Plis Defence of our holy religion, 
addressed to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius and his 
son Commodus, was made about a.d. 177. To this 
we add his treatise oii the Resurrection of the dead. 

In his " Embassy," or " Defence," f in language 
much resembling Justin Martyrs, he expresses his 

■-- C. 33, p. 270. t C. 10, p. 286. 


wonder that any should call Christians atheists, 
who believed in One God, the Father, the Son, and 
the Holy Ghost ; and believed also that there were 
Angels, created by that Supreme God to be his minis- 
ters, and to execute his commands throughout the 
world. He is here led (in explanation, to the royal 
personages, of the mystery that God could have a 
son,) to speak of the eternal existence of the Word 
with his Father ; but he makes no such mention as 
M'e might have expected of the incarnation, nor does 
he allude to the Virgin Mary. 

Theophilus addresses a learned Pagan, who had 
sneered at the religion of Christians. His treatise 
seems a sort of preliminary or introductory argument, 
preparing his correspondent for the admission of 
Christian doctrine, rather than an exposition of the 
truths of the Gospel. In the following passage he 
thus speaks of the unity of God : 

" We also confess God, but only one — the builder, 
and maker, and creator of all this universe ; and we 
know that all things are ordained by prescience, but 
by Him alone : and we have learned a holy law ; but 
for our legislator we have the true God, who teaches 
us to act justly, to be pious, and do good."* 

He speaks also of God the Word, begotten from 
everlasting of the Fatlier.f 

He speaks not at all of the Virgin Mary ; but it 
is remarkable, that, in his translation of the third chap- 
ter of Genesis, he renders the passage to which our 
attention has been already drawn, not, as the Roman 
Vulgate translates it, with reference to the woman, 

* Lib. iii. c. 9. t Lib. ii. c. 22. 


but to her seed. " I will put enmity between thee 
and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed : 
it {avTo) shall watch * thy head, and thou shalt watch 
his (or its, aurou) heeU'f 

Justin sealed his faith by his blood, about A. D. 165 ; 
and next to him in the noble army of martyrs we must 
examine the evidence of Irenseus, Bishop of Lyons. 
Of his works a very small proportion survives in the 
original Greek ; but that little is such as might well 
make every scholar and divine lament the calamity 
which theology and literature have sustained by the 
loss of this writer's own language. It is not, perhaps, 
beyond the range of hope that future researches may 
yet recover at least some part of the treasure. Mean- 
while we must avail ourselves with thankfulness of 
the nervous though inelegant version which the Latin 
translation affords, imperfect and corrupt in many parts 
as that copy unfortunately is. This, however, is not the 
place for recommending the remains of Irenseus ; and 
every one at all acquainted with the literature of the 
early Church knows well how valuable a store of an- 
cient Christian learning is preserved even in the wreck 
of his works. 

Bellarmin and others cite a passage from Irenseus 
as justifying the invocation of the Virgin Mary. The 
passage is itself obscure, and has been often acknow- 
ledged to be unintelligible ; but, to enable the reader 
to judge for himself, it will be found entire in the 

* Tr]pi]a£i<;. There is a doubt as to the reading here. It is sup- 
posed to mean, to watch with a view of injuring, 
t Lib. ii. X Ed. Paris, 1710. 

IRENiEUS. 139 

note. The sentence quoted in a mutilated form 
by Bellarmin, though in itself ungrammatical, sounds 
to tMs effect : " As she [Eve] was by the discourse 
of an angel seduced to fly from God, running counter 
to his word ; so [she] Mary by an angelic discourse 
received the glad tidings that she should carry God, 
being obedient to his word. Although that one had 
disobeyed God, but this one was persuaded to obey 
God, in order that the Virgin Mary might become the 
advocate of the Virgin Eve !" * To this quotation Bel- 
larmin adds the exclamation, " What can be clearer?" 
In whatever sense Irenseus may be supposed to have 
employed the word here translated " advocata," it is 
difficult to see how the circumstance of Mary becom- 
ing the advocate of Eve, who so many generations 
before Mary's birth had been removed to the other 
world, can bear upon the question. Whether it is a 
Christian's duty now dwelling on earth to invoke 
the Virgin Mary ? Some critics maintain that the 
word " advocata," found in the Latin version of Ire- 

* " Manifeste itaque in sua propria venientem Dominum et sua 
propria eum bajulantem conditione quae bajulatur ab ipso, et recapitu- 
lationem ejus quse in ligno fuit inobedientise per earn quse in ligno est 
obedientiam facientem et seductionem illam solutam qua seducta est 
male ilia quae jam viro destinata erat virgo Eva per veritatem evange- 
lizata est bene ab angelo jam sub viro Virgo Maria. Quemadmodum 
enim ilia per angeli sermonem seducta est ut effugeret Deum prasvari- 
cata verbum ejus, ita et hsec per angelicum sermonem evangelizata est 
ut portaret Deum obediens ejus verbo. Etsi ea inobedierat Deo, sed 
heec suasa est obedire Deo, uti virginis Evse virgo Maria fieret advo- 
cata. Et quemadmodum astrictum est morti genus humawum per 
virginem, salvatur per virginem tequa lance disposita virginalis inobe- 
dientia per virginalem obedientiam. Adhuc enim protoplasti peccatum 
per correptionem primogeniti emendacionem accipiens, et serpentis pru- 
dentia devicta in columbae simplicitate, vinculis autem illis resolutis 
per quse alligati eramus morti." 


nseus,* is the rendering- of the original word now lost, 
meaning " comforter or consoler." f But on this we 
need not dwell, because, whatever meaning be at- 
tached to that word, the passage proves nothing as to 
the lawfulness of worshipping the Virgin, or praying 
to her for her succour or for her intercession. Ire- 
niKus, in referring to the mother of our Lord, speaks of 
her as " Mary," or " the Virgin," " Mary, who hitherto 
was a virgin," &c., without any adjunct or term of 
reverence, never alluding to her influence with God, 
nor to any practice among Christians of invoking her 
aid.|: He thus speaks of the incarnation: "This 
Son of God is our Lord, being the Word of the Fa- 
ther and the Son of man ; since of Mary, who de- 
rived her origin from men, and was herself a human 
being {gu(s et ipsa erat homo), he had his generation 
according to man. Wherefore, also, the Lord himself 
gave us a sign in the depth and the height above, 
which man asked not for, because he hoped not that a 
virgin could become pregnant who was a virgin, and 
bring forth a son, and that this child is God with us." § 
He speaks, moreover, in a very pointed manner of the 
Church (excluding the invocation of angels, and incan- 
tations, &;c.) " with cleanliness, purity, and openness 
directing prayers to the Lord who made all things, 
and calling upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, 
exercising its power for the benefit, not the seduction, 
of mankind." |1 

* Lib. V. c. xix. p. 316. t ■7rapdK\r]Toc, paraclete. 

§ P. 213. II Lib. ii. c. 32, sect. 5. p. 166, 



ABOUT A.D. 190. 

Contemporary with Irenseus, and probably less ttian 
twenty years his junior, was Clement, the celebrated 
Christian philosopher of Alexandria. The tendency of 
Clement's disposition to blend with the simplicity of 
the Gospel that philosophy in which he so fully 
abounded, renders him far less valuable as a Christian 
teacher ; but his evidence as to the matter of fact is 
rendered by that bent of his mind still more cogent. 

Clement has left on record many of his meditations 
on the nature, the efficacy, the duty, and the blessed 
comfort of prayer. When he speaks of God, and 
of the Christian in prayer, (defining prayer to be 
" communion, or intercourse, or conversation with 
God,") his language rises with the subject, and be- 
comes exquisitely beautiful, and not unfrequently 

" Therefore," he says, " keeping the whole of our 
life as a feast, everywhere and on every part persuaded 
that God is present, we praise him as we till our 
lands ; we sing hymns as we are sailing. The Chris- 
tian is persuaded that God hears everything ; not the 

voice only, but the thoughts He prays for things 

essentially good.'"! 

" It is the extreme of ignorance to ask from 
those who are not gods, as though they were gods. 
Whence, since there is one only good God, both 
we ourselves and the angels supplicate from him 
alone, that some good things might be given to us, and 
others might remain with us." J 

* Edit. Oxon. 1715. t Stromata, lib. vii. § 7. p. 851, &c. 

+ Sect. 12. p. 879. 


Having referred to the opinion of some Greeks as to 
the power of demons over the affairs of mortals, Cle- 
ment adds, " But they think it matters nothing whe- 
ther we speak of these as gods, or as angels, giving 
to the spirits of such the name of ' demons,' and teach- 
ing that they should be worshipped by men, as having 
by Divine Providence, on account of the purity of their 
lives, received authority to be conversant about earthly 
places, in order that they may minister to mortals."''" 

In this last passage, the language which he ascribes 
to the supporters of heathen superstition, in order to 
refute their errors, so nearly approaches the language 
of the Church of Rome when speaking of the powers 
of the Virgin Mary, that we may be assured, had he 
entertained any idea of seeking her aid or her inter- 
cession by invocation, he would have mentioned it as 
an exception. 

Clement speaks of Mary, and of her virgin state 
when she became a mother, and the mystery of Christ's 
birth ; but he speaks of her without one word of 
honour .f 


Tertullian of Carthage ^ was a contemporary of Cle- 
ment of Alexandria, and so nearly of the same age, 
that it has been doubted which of the two should take 
precedence in point of time. There is a very wide 
difference in the tone and character of their works, as 
there was in the frame and constitution of their minds. 
The lenient and liberal views of the erudite and ac- 
complished master of the Alexandrian school stand 
out in prominent and broad contrast with the strict 
and severe doctrines of Tertullian. 
* Strom., § iii. p. 753. t P. 889. 


Tertullian fell into very serious errors by joining 
liimself to Montanus : still, on his mind is discoverable 
the working of that spirit which animated the early 
converts to Christianity ; and his whole soul seems to 
have been filled with a desire to promote the practical 
influenee of tbe Gospel. 

A decided line of distinction is drawn by Uoman 
Catholic writers between the works of Tertullian 
written before he espoused the errors of Montanus, 
and his subsequent productions. But such a distinc- 
tion will not aiFect his testimony as a witness on the 
point of fact before us. Had he maintained the invo- 
cation of the Virgin whilst he continued in full com- 
munion with the Church, and rejected it afterwards, 
no one would c^uote his later oi[imions as iviCQU^.tetewi 
with the general practice of Christians. But we 
are only seeking in his works evidence of the matter 
of fact. — Do they afford any proof that the worship of 
the Virgin, prayers to her for her aid and intercession, 
and praises to her honour, formed a part of the doc- 
trine and practice of the Catholic Church in his 
time ? 

Jerome * expressly tells us that Cyprian never 
passed a single day without studying the works of 
Tertullian,! and that after Tertullian had remained a 
presbyter of the Church to middle life, the envy and 
revilings of the members of the Roman Church caused 

* Jerome mentions this circumstance more than once, and his 
words in referring to it are very striking ; <' I saw one Paulus, who 
said that he had seen Cyprian's secretary at Borne, who used to tell 
him that Cyprian never passed a single day without reading Tertul- 
lian, and that he often said to him, ' Give me the master,' meaning 
Tertullian." Jerom. vol, iv. part ii. p. 115. 

t Jerom. 1684. Tom. i. p. 183. 


him to fall from its communion, and to espouse Mon- 

Tertullian's sentiments, when his thoughts are on 
])rayer, are very beautiful. For example, in his Apo- 
logy,* with much more in the same animating strain, 
he says, " We (Christians) invoke the eternal God, 
the true God, the living God, for the safety of the 
Emperor. . . . Thither (heavenward) looking up with 
hands extended, because they are harmless; with 
our head bare, because we are not ashamed ; without a 
prompter, because it is from the heart ; we Christians 
pray for all rulers a long life, a secure government, a 
safe home, brave armies, a faithful senate, a good peo- 
ple, a quiet world. 

" These things I cannot ask in prayer from any 
other except Him from whom I know that I shall 
obtain ; because He is the one who alone grants, and 
I am one whom it behoveth to obtain by prayer,"t &c. 

In the opening of his reflections on the Lord's 
Prayer, he says : 

" Let us consider, beloved, the heavenly wisdom in 
the precept of praying in secret, by which He required 
in a man faith to believe that both the sight and the 
hearing of the Omnipotent God are present under our 
roofs and in our secret places ; and desired the lowli- 
ness of faith, that to Him alone, who, according to 
his belief, hears and sees everywhere, he would offer 
his ■vyorship.":]; 

But the evidence of Tertullian is not confined to 
those passages in which he directs us to address our 
supplications to God alone, who alone heareth prayer : 
his sentiments with regard to the Virgin Mary (like 
those of Chrysostom and others) are altogether conclu- 
* Sect. 30. f p. 27. X P-129- 


sive on the question before us. It is inconceivable 
that any man accustomed to offer praises to the Vir- 
gin, as the Roman Church now does, to confide in her 
intercession, and to invoke her name in prayer, could 
have entertained such sentiments as are expressed in 
the following passage, — sentiments which Tertullian 
repeats in other places, with only some slight variety 
of expression. "But what reason is there for the 
answer, which denied his mother and his brethren ? 
The brothers of the Lord had not believed in liim, 
as it is contained in the Gospel, which was before 
Marcion's time. His mother, in like manner, is not 
shewn to have adhered to him ; whereas other Marys 
and Marthas were often in his company. By this, 
finally, their unbelief is made evident. Whilst he 
was teaching the way of life, whilst he was preach- 
ing the kingdom of God, whilst he was engaged in 
curing sicknesses and evils, at a time when strangers 
were fixedly intent upon him, then persons so nearly 
related to bim were absent. At last they come up and 
stand outside the door, and do not enter ; not thinking, 
forsooth, of what was going on there : nor do they 
wait, just as though they were bringing something 
more urgent than the business in which he was then 
chiefly engaged ; but, moreover, they interrupt him, 
and endeavour to recal him from so great a work. 

" Now I pray you, Apelles, and you, Marcion, if per- 
chance, when you were playing at chess, or disputing 
about players or charioteers, you were called away by 
such a message, would you not have said, ' Who is my 
mother, and who are my brethren?' And whilst 
Christ was preaching and setting forth God, fulfil- 
ling the law and the prophets, dispersing the darkness 
of so many ages, did he undeservedly employ this 



saying to strike at the unbelief of those who stood 
without, or to shake oif the importunity of those who 
were calling him away from his work?"* 

In another place f he says on the same subject, 
" Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring 
to speak with thee. He, Christ, with reason felt 
indignant, that, whilst strangers were bent intently on 
his discourse, persons so nearly related to him should 
stand without, seeking, moreover, to call him away 
from his solemn work." J 

In another treatise^ he tells us that Christ was 
brought forth by a virgin, who was also to be married 
once after his birth, that in Christ the two titles of 
sanctity might be distinctly marked, by a mother who 
was both a virgin and also once married. 

This brings us to the end of the second century. 

* De came Christi, vii. p. 315. 

t Adv. Marcionem, iv. 19, p, 433. 

:|: Chrysostom (as we shall see when we examine his testimony) 
employs even stronger language than Tertullian, in reflecting upon the 
conduct of Mary and the Lord's brothers on this occasion. 

§ De Monogamia, vii. p. 539. 




Jerome informs us that TertulUan lived to a very 
advanced age. Long, therefore, before his death 
flourished Origen, one of the most celebrated lights 
of the primitive Church.* He was educated a Christian. 
Indeed, his father is said to have suffered martyrdom 
about A. D. 202. Origen was a pvipil of Clement of 
Alexandria. His virtues and his labours have called 
forth the admiration of all ages ; and, though he cannot 
be implicitly followed as a teacher, what still remains 
of his works will be delivered down as a rich treasure 
to succeeding times. 

He was a most voluminous writer; and Jerome 
asked the members of his Church.f " Who is there 
among us that can read as many books as Origen has 
composed V A large proportion of his works are lost, 
and of those which remain few are preserved in the 
original Greek. We must often study Origen through 
the medium of a translation, the accuracy of which we 

* Benedictine edition by De la Rue, Paris, 1733. De la Rue had 
completed only part of his preface to the third volume ■when he died. 
This was in 1739. He seems to have been as pious and benevolent 
as he was learned and industrious. 

f Vol. iv. epist. xli. p. 346. 


have no means of verifying. Many of the works for- 
merly ascribed to him are unquestionably spurious ; 
and yet are they quoted by Roman Catholic authors 
and editors of the present day in defence of the wor- 
ship of saints and angels.* Speaking of one of them 
still unhappily cited as genuine, we can only repeat 
the very words which Huet, Bishop of Avranches, so 
many years ago uttered with regard to that very work : 
" It is wonderful, that they should be sometimes cited 
in evidence by some theologians, without any note 


It seems impossible to find words which can ex- 
press more strongly than the words of Origen express 
the duty and privilege of Christians praying to God 
alone for all they need, and offering that prayer through 
the alone mediation of Jesus Christ, the Word and 
Son of God, our Saviour, to the utter exclusion of all 
creatures of whatever nature as objects of our prayer, 
or as intercessors to be invoked. 

Celsus accused the Christians of being atheists, 
godless men, without a God ; and, too well representing 
the weakness and failings of human nature, urged on 
them the necessity, at least the expediency, of conci- 
liating those intermediate beings who, as he said, exe- 
cuted the will of the Supreme Being, and might perhaps 
have much left at their own will and discretion to give 
or to withhold ; and, consequently, the desirableness of 

* Dr. Wiseman in his Lectures in Moorfields, and Bemngton and 
Kirk in their joint compilation (from which Dr. Wiseman quoted), 
cite the "Lament of Origen" as Origen's own work. Pope Gelasius 
and a Council of seventy assistant Bishops, in the year 494, denounced 
it as apocryphal. — Berrington and Kirk, London, 1830, p. 403 ; 
Lectures by Nicholas Wiseman, D.D. London, 1836, vol. ii. p. 107; 
Cone. Labb. voh iv. p. 1265. 

•)- Origen's Works, vol. iv. p. 326. Appendix. 


securing their good offices by praying to them. To 
these charges and suggestions Origen replies : 

" We must pray to God alone, who is over all things ; 
and we must pray also to the only-begotten and first- 
born of every creature, the Word of God ; and we 
must implore Him as our High-priest to carry our 
prayer, first coming to Him, to his God and our God, 
to his Father and the Father of those who live agree- 
ably to the word of God."* 

With very much to the same eflfect, and many most 
sublime passages urging the same doctrine, but which 
we have not room here to quote at large, we read the 
following : 

" The one God — the God who is over all — is to be 
propitiated by us, and to be appeased by prayer ; the 
God who is rendered favourable by piety and all virtue. 
But if he (Celsus) is desirous, after the Supreme God, 
to propitiate some others also, let him bear in mind, 
that just as a body in motion is accompanied by the 
motion of its shadow, so also, by rendering the Su- 
preme God favourable, it follows that the person has 
all His friends, angels, souls, spirits, favourable also, 
for they sympathize with those who are worthy of 
God's favour; and not only do they become kindly 
affected towards the worthy, but they also join in their 
work with those who desire to worship the Supreme 
God ; and they propitiate him, and pray with us, and 
supplicate with us. We therefore boldly say, that, to- 
gether with men who on principle prefer the better 
part and pray to God, ten thousands of holy powers 
join in prayer {aKkriroi) unasked" [unbidden, un- 
called UPON, UNINVOKED].t 

* Cont. Cels. § 8. c. xxvi. vol. i. p. 761. 

t Cont. Cels. lib. viii. § 64. vol. i. p. 789. See also lib. viii. vol. i. 
p. 786 ; lib. v. § 4. p. 579 ; lib. viii. § 17. p. 751. 


What an opportunity was bere for Origen to have 
stated, that though Christians did not call upon angeh 
and the subordinate divinities of heathenism, yet that 
with other holy persons, objects of tbeir prayers in 
heaven, they called upon the Virgin Mary, the mo- 
ther of the Saviour, the queen of heaven, the gate of 
heaven, the way to heaven, in whom the Supreme God 
was well pleased, and who could succour and save whom 
she would ! Instead of this, we find him in one place 
referring to Mary * just as we should ourselves speak of 
her, as one not like other mothers, but as a pure Virgin, 
and therefore not amenable to the Levitical law relating 
to matrons :f in another, he refers to " the announce- 
ment to Zacharias of the birth of John, and to Mary 
of the advent of our Saviour among men ;"! making no 
difference of dignity between the father of the Bap- 
tist and the mother of our Lord. But not one word 
is found to intimate the belief of himself or of the 
Church in the influence and advocacy of Mary, or the 
practice of the Church or of himself in praying to her 
for her succour or intercession. 

But the positive testimony of Origen is very strong 
against the present doctrine and practice of the Church 
of Rome towards the Virgin Mary. Huet charges 
Origen with holding unsound tenets, "contrary to 
the doctrine at the present day of the Church of 
Rome, and to the Council of Trent." The third 
error with which he charges him is, that whereas 
" the Church and that Council maintain that the Vir- 
gin Mary never had sin, Origen holds that she was 
not only liable to sin, but actually was guilty of it." § 

* In Levit. Horn. Ylii. vol. ii. p. 228. + Levit. xii. 2. 

X Comment, on John, § 24. vol. iv. p. 82. 
§ Vol. iv. p. 156, in Appendix. 


And in proof of tliis charge Huet quotes Origen's 
comment on Luke, c. ii. — " What is that sword that 
pierced through the hearts, not only of others, but of 
Mary also ? It is plainly written that, at the time of 
the passion, all the Apostles were offended ; tlie Lord 
himself saying, ' All you shall be offended this night.' 
Therefore all were offended to such a degree, that 
Peter also, the chief of the Apostles, thrice denied 
him. What ! Do we suppose, that when the Apostles 
were offended, the mother of our Lord was free from 
feeling offence ? If she did not feel offence in the 
suffering of our Lord, Jesus did not die for her sins. 
But if all have sinned and want the glory of God, 
being justified by his grace and redeemed, surely JNIary 
too was offended at that time. And this is what Si- 
meon now prophesies, saying, And through thy own 
soul, thou who knowest that without a husband thou 
broughtest forth, who didst bear the voice of Gabriel, 
' The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee,' the sword of 
unbelief shall pierce ; and thou shalt be struck by the 
sharp point of doubt, when thou shalt see him whom 
thou heardest to be the Son of God, and whom thou 
knowest that thou broughtest forth without a hus- 
band, crucified and dying, and subject to human suf- 
fering."* Huet implicates, and not without reason, in 
the same charge Basil, Chrysostom, Cyril, and others. 
The fact is, that a large proportion of the ancient 
Fathers of the Church speak freely on the want of 
faith, or its imperfection and weakness, in the Virgin 

* Homil. in Luc. xvii,, vol. iii. p. 952. 



Gregory, whose original name was Theodoras, and 
who was also called Thaumaturgus, or the Wonder- 
worker, from the number of miracles ascribed to him, 
was Bishop of Caisarea in Pontus.'*^ His name is not 
found among those whom the canon law of Rome, or 
the council of Pope Gelasius, has admitted into the 
catalogue of approved and authoritative teachers; in- 
deed, that decree makes no mention of him. Yet, 
since he is often quoted by Bellarmin and other Ro- 
Inan Catholic controversialists, it does not appear safe 
to omit all inquiry into his evidence. 

This Gregory was a disciple of Origen, on whom he 
wrote a panegyric, Avhich Jerome reports to have been 
extant in his time ; he also wrote a work on the Book 
of Ecclesiastes, mentioned likewise by Jerome, which 
has come down to the present day. In these works,f 
which are held by all to be genuine, not the slightest 
trace can be found of any supplication to the Virgin, 
or any reference to her intercession, or any praises 
to her name. 

To these genuine works Vossius added three ox four 
others, which either had never before been brought to 
light, or had never been published as Gregory's, though 

* He is said to have been advanced to the episcopate in the tenth 
year of'A]exander Severus, i.e. a.d. 24^5. Among other wonderful 
acts this " Wonder-worker" is said hy his prayer to ha^e remo'ved a 
mountain which prevented the building of a church ; to have dried up 
a lake which had caused some discord ; and by planting his staff on 
the bank of the river Lycus (the staff immediately growing into a 
tree) he prevented that river from ever after inundating the land, or 
extending its flood beyond that tree. In the prefatory matter of the 
edition of Vossius, a reference for these miracles is made to the Roman 
Breviary on Nov. 17. \ Paris, 1622. 


one had been previously published as a work of Atha- 
nasius. Among these are one sermon on the Baptism 
of our Lord, and a dissertation on the Soul, together 
with three discourses delivered in honour of the Vir- 
gin on the festival of the Annunciation; though the 
origin of that festival cannot be referred with any 
show of reason to an earlier date than the seventh 
century, — more than three centuries after Gregory's 

A.D. 258. 

In the middle of the third century, Cyprian,| a man 
of substance and a rhetorician of Carthage, was con- 
verted to Christianity. He was then fifty years of age ; 
and his learning, virtues, and devotedness to the cause 
which he had espoused, soon raised him to the dignity, 
the responsibility, and in those days the danger of the 
episcopate. Many of his writings of undoubted genu- 
ineness are preserved, and they have in every age been 
appealed to as the works of a faithful son of the 
Catholic Church. On the subject of prayer he has 
written powerfully and aiFectingly ; and had he ad- 
dressed himself to the Virgin Mary, invoking her 
succour or urging her intercession, his line of argu- 
ment, in many parts of his various productions, would 
have led naturally to an expression of his sentiments 
in that respect : but no trace of such belief or practice 

* These are beyond question supposititious. Some of the arguments 
by which their spuriousness is proved will be found in the Appendix. 

+ Benedictine, Paris, 1726. 

'I Cyprian is said to have been converted about a.d. 246, to have 
been consecrated a.d. 248, and to have suffered martyrdom, a.d. 258. 
See Jerome, vol. iv. p. 342. 


is to be found. We need not be detained long by our 
inquiry into the eyidence of Cyprian. Two extracts in- 
dicative of the tone and character of his views will 
suffice : one forming a part of the introduction to his 
Comments on the Lord's Prayer, fitted for the edifica- 
tion of Christians in every age ; the other closing his 
treatise on Mortality, or The Mortality, one of those 
beautiful productions by which during the plague that 
raged in Carthage, a.d. 252, he comforted and ex- 
horted the Christians, that they might meet death 
without fear or amazement, in sure and certain hope of 
eternal life in heaven. The sentiments in the latter 
passage will be responded to by every Christian, whe- 
ther in communion with the Church of Rome or with 
the Church of England ; whilst in the former we are 
reminded, that, to pray as Cyprian prayed, we must ad- 
dress ourselves to God alone, in the name, and trusting 
to the merits only, of his blessed Son. 

" He who caused us to live taught us also to pray, 
from that kindness evidently by which he designs to 
give and confer on us every other blessing ; that, when 
we speak to the Father in the prayer and supplication 
which his Son taught, we may the more readily be 
heard. He had previously foretold that the hour was 
coming when the true worshippers should worship the 
Father in spirit and in truth ; and he fulfilled what he 
before promised, that we who have received the spirit 
and truth from his sanctification, may from his instruc- 
tion offer adoration truly and spiritually. For what 
prayer can be more spiritual than that which is given 
to us by Christ, by whom even the Holy Spirit is sent 
to us? What can be a more true prayer with the 
Father, than that which came from the lips of the Son, 
who is Truth ? So that to pray otherwise than he 


taught is not only ignorance, but a fault, since he has 
himself laid it down and said, ' Ye reject the command- 
ment of God to establish your own traditions.' Let 
us pray then, most beloved brethren, as our teacher 
God has instructed us. It is a welcome and friendly 
prayer to petition God from his own, to mount up to 
his ears by the prayer of Christ. Let the Father re- 
cognize the words of his Son. When we offer a 
prayer, let Him who dwelleth inwardly in our breast. 
Himself be in our voice ; and since we have Him as 
our advocate with the Father for our sins, when as 
sinners we are petitioning for our sins, let us put forth 
the words of our advocate." * 

" We must consider, most beloved brethren, and 
frequently reflect, that we have renounced the world, 
and are meanwhile living here as strangers and pil- 
grims. Let us embrace the day which assigns each to 
his own home, . . . which restores us to paradise and 
the kingdom of heaven, snatched hence, and liberated 
from the entanglements of the world. What man, 
when he is in a foreign country, would not hasten to 
return to his native land ? . . . We regard paradise as 
our country. . . . We have begun already to have the 
patriarchs for our parents. Why do we not hasten 
and run, that we may see our country and salute our 
parents? There a large number of dear ones are 
waiting for us, of parents, brothers, children ; a nu- 
merous and full crowd are longing for us, already 
secure of their own immortality, and still anxious for 
our safety. To come to the sight and the embrace of 
these, how great will be the mutual joy to them and 
to us ! What a pleasure of the kingdom of heaven is 
there without the fear of dying, and with an eternity 

* De Orat. Dom. p. 204. 


of living ! How consummate and never-ending a 
happiness ! There is the glorious company of the 
Apostles ; there is the assembly of exiilting Prophets ; 
there is the unnumbered family of Martyrs, crowned 
for the victory of their struggles and sufferings ; there 
are virgins triumphing, who by the power of chastity 
have subdued the lusts of the flesh and the body ; 
there are the merciful recompensed, who with food 
and bounty to the poor have done the works of right- 
eousness, who keeping the Lord's commands have 
transferred their earthly inheritance into heavenly 
treasures. To these, O most dearly beloved brethren, 
let us hasten with most eager longing : let us desire 
that our lot may be, to be with them speedily, to 
come speedily to Christ. Let God see this to be our 
thought; let our Lord Christ behold this to be the 
purpose of our mind and faith, who will give more 
abundant rewards of his glory to them whose desires 
for himself have been the greater."* 

In Cyprian we do not find one word expressive of 
honour or reverence towards the Virgin Mary ; no 
allusion to her advocacy and intercession, or her influ- 
ence with God. Nor is her name mentioned in the 
letter of his correspondent, Firmilian, Bishop of Cap- 

Some notice must here be taken of Methodius, 
Bishop of Tyre, a pious writer of the third century. 
A work, formerly attributed to him,f continues even at 

* De Mortalitate, p. 236. 

t Dr. Wiseman, in his Remarks on Mr. Palmer's Letter, 1841, 
p. 30, quotes from this homily of Methodius as though it were genuine. 
—Methodius, Gl. Combes. Paris, 1644. See the note of the Benedictine 


the present day to be quoted in proof of the early invo- 
cation of the Virgin ; but the homily has long ago 
been pronounced by the best critics, some of them 
Roman Catholic editors, to be the production of a 
later age. Indeed, many homilies ascribed to other 
authors, purporting to have been delivered, like this, 
at so early a period, on the festival of our Lord's Pre- 
sentation in the temple, carry in their very forehead 
the stamp of spuriousness ; because that feast began 
to be observed in the Church so late as the fifteenth 
year of Justinian, in the sixth century. The theolo- 
gical language of this homily, moreover, belongs to 
a period long subsequent ; for the writer employs 
expressions to guard against the Arian heresy, and 
seems to make extracts from the Nicene Creed — 
" very God of very God, very light of very light. " 
The general opinion seems to be, that both this and 
many other writings formerly ascribed to the first 
Methodius, were written by persons of a later age. 
Even were the work genuine, instead of being con- 
fessedly spurious, it is clearly oratorical, and affords 
just as strong a demonstration that Methodius believed 
that the city of Jerusalem could hear his salutation, 
as that the Virgin could hear his prayers; for he 

editor of Jerome, who says, once for all, that the Symposium is the 
only entire work of Methodius extant. — Jerome's Works, vol. ii. 
p. 910. Baronius says expressly, " I do not hesitate to say, that no 
Greek or Latin writer has left a sermon delivered on the feast of the 
Purification (called sometimes ' Hypapantes,' sometimes ' Simeon 
and Anna,') before the fifteenth year of Justinian ; and that Pope 
Gelasius paved the way for the institution of that feast, by putting 
an end to the festivities of the Lupercalia, which were also observed 
in February." — Baronius, in Feb. 2, Paris, 1607, p. 57. Lumper 
also. Part 13, p. 474, shews that unquestionably this homily is of a 
much later age. 


addresses the same " Hail" to Mary, Simeon, and the 
Holy City alike, calling it " The earthly heaven."* 


Cyprian suffered martyrdom somewhat before the 
year 260. Towards the close of this century, and 
at the beginning of the fourth, flourished Lactantius.f 
He was deeply imbued with classical learning and 
philosophy. Before he became a writer, (as Jerome 
informs us,J) he taught rhetoric at Nicomedia ; and 
afterwards in extreme old age he was the tutor of 
Caesar Crispus, son of Constantino, in Gaul. Among 
many other writings which Jerome enumerates, he 
specifies the book, " On the Anger of God," as a most 
beautiful work. Bellarmin speaks of him disparag- 
ingly, as one who had fallen into many errors, and 
was better versed in Cicero than in the Holy Scrip- 
tures. The fact is, that his testimonj is decidedly 
against the doctrine of the adoration of any other 
being than God, and of the intercession of any other 
mediator than Christ. 

The following are among the few passages in his 
works that bear on our subject : " He was, there- 
fore, both God and man ; appointed a mediator be- 
tween God and man. Whence the Greeks call him 
Midirnv [mediator], that he might bring man to God, 
that is, to immortality ; because, had he been only 
God, he could not have given a pattern to man ; 
if he had been only man, he could not have forced 
man to justice, had not an authority and power 

* See Fabricius, yoI. vii. p. 268, and vol. x. p. 24 1. 

t Ed. Lenglet Dufresnoy, 1748. 

% Jerome, vol. iv. p. ii. p. ]10; Paris, 1706. 


greater than man's been added." * " God," he says, 
in one passage, " hath created ministers, whom we 
call messengers [angels]. . . . But neither are these 
gods, nor do they wish to be called gods, or to be 
worshipped, as being those who do nothing beyond 
the command and will of God." f 

Lactantius speaks ^ of a " Holy Virgin," chosen for 
the Avork of Christ ; but not one word of greater 
honour, or looking towards adoration ; though dwell- 
ing on the incarnation of the Son of God, had he 
or his fellow-believers paid religious honour to Mary, 
it is incredible that he would have avoided all allusion 
to her advocacy and power. 

And this brings us to the close of the third century, 

* Vol. i. p. 339 t Vol. i. p. 31. :j; Vol. i. p. 299. 




SECTION L— EUSEBIUS, a.d. 314.* 

The evidence of Eusebius on any subject con- 
nected with primitive faith and practice cannot be 
looked to without feelings of deep interest. He 
flourished at the beginning of the fourth century, 
and was Bishop of Cscsarea, in Palestine. His tes- 
timony has always been appealed to, as an authority 
not likely to be gainsaid. He was a voluminous 
writer, and his writings were very diversified in their 
character. But in his works, historical, biographical, 
controversial, or by whatever name any of them may 
be called, overflowing as they are with learning, philo- 
sophical and scriptural, we find no single passage to 
countenance the decrees of the Council of Trent ; not 
one passage is found among his writings to justify the 
belief that the primitive Church was wont to suppli- 
cate the Virgin Mary, either to impart to the sup- 
plicants any favour, or to pray for them. The testi- 
mony of Eusebius has a directly contrary bearing. 

In the opening chapter of his Ecclesiastical History, 
Eusebius prays, " that he might have God for his 
guide in the way, the power of the Lord to work with 

* His chief theological works were certainly written before the 
Nicene Council, and probably a.d. 315. 


him.'" And again, (c. v.) " Calling upon God the 
Father of the Word, and the heavenly Word him- 
self, Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, to be our 
guide and helper in the declaration of the truth." 
Proceeding to the history of our Lord, and having 
dwelt much upon his pre-existence and Godhead, he 
says not one word about the mother who bare Him, 
beyond this, that, in giving the genealogy of Joseph, 
the Gospel virtually gives the genealogy of Mary. 

Eusebius again and again reminds us, that, though 
there be spiritual powers keeping their stations around 
their King, whom we should know and honour accord- 
ing to their measure of dignity, we must " render 
to God alone, the Sovereign King, the honour of 
worship," * " confessing God alone, and Him alone 

Eusebius |: speaks of the Virgin Mary, but is alto- 
gether silent as to any religious honour of any kind 
being offered to her ; and that in passages where he 
could not have omitted all reference to it, had it at 
all existed. In the oration of the Emperor Constan- 
tino, as it is recorded by Eusebius, § direct mention 
is made of " the chaste Virginity," and of " the maid 
who was the mother of God, and yet remained a 
Virgin." But the object present to the author's 
mind was so exclusively God manifest in the flesh, 
that he does not throughout even mention the name 
of Mary, or allude to any religious honour due or 
paid to her. 

* Demonst. Evang. ; Paris, 1628, Lib. iii. c. 3, p. 106. 

t Praepar. Evan. Lib. vii. c. 15, p. 237. 

X Cantab. 1720 : § 11, p. 689 ; and § 19, p. 703. 

§ Auguste Taurinorum, (Triers,) 1746; vol. i. p. 624. 





These works, tbougli confessedly not tbe genuine 
productions of the Apostles or of their age, have been 
always held in much veneration by the Church of 
Rome. The most learned writers fix their date at a 
period not more remote than the beginning of the 
fourth century. In these are given minute rules for 
the conducting of public worship ; forms of prayer are 
prescribed to be used in the Church by the bishops and 
clergy, and by the people ; forms of supplication and 
thanksgiving are recommended for private use, in the 
morning, at night, and at meals ; forms, too, there are 
of creeds and confessions ; Tout not one single allusion 
in them is found to any religious address to the Virgin 
Mary, or any reference to her power, influence, merits, 
or intercession. Occasions most opportune for the intro- 
duction of such doctrine and practice are repeatedly 
recurring, but they are uniformly passed by. Again 
and again is prayer directed to be made to the one 
only living and true God exclusively of all other, and 
exclusively through the mediation and intercession of 
the one only Saviour, Jesus Christ. The Apostolical 
Constitutions, in which there is reference made to the 
mother of our Lord, can scarcely be read by any one 
without leaving an impression clear and powerful on 
the mind, that no religious honour was paid to the 
Virgin Mary when they were written, certainly not 
more than is now cheerfully paid to her by members 
of the Church of England. If, for example, we take 

* In the same volumes with the Apostolical Fathers above referred to. 


the prayer prescribed to be used on the appointment 
of a Deaconess, the inference from it must be, that 
others, with whom the Lord's Spirit had dwelt, were at 
least held in equal honour with Mary, " O Eternal 
God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of male 
and female, who didst fill with thy Spirit Miriam and 
Hannah and Huldah, and didst not disdain that thy Son 
should be born of a woman," &;c. * Thus, in another 
passage Mary is spoken of just as other women who 
had the gift of prophecy ; and of her equally and in 
conjunction with the others it is said, that they were 
not elated by the gift, not lifting themselves up against 
the men. " But even have women prophesied in an- 
cient times, — Miriam, the sister of Aaron and Moses; 
after her, Deborah ; and afterwards Huldah and Judith, 
one under Josiah, the other under Darius ; and the 
mother of the Lord also prophesied, and Elizabeth her 
kinswoman, and Anna, and in our days the daughters 
of Philip ; yet they were not lifted up against the men, 
but observed their own measure. Therefore, among 
you should any man or woman have such a grace, let 
them be humble, that God may take pleasure in 
them." f 

In the Apostolical Canons we find no allusion to 
Mary, nor indeed any passage bearing on our present 
inquiry, except the last clause of all, containing the 
benediction. Here not only is the prayer for spiritual 
blessings addressed to God alone, but it is offered ex- 
clusively through the mediation of Christ alone 

" Now may God, the only unproduced Being, the 
Creator of all things, unite you all by peace in the 
Holy Ghost, make you perfect unto every good work, 
not to be turned aside, unblameable, not deserving- re- 

* Book viii. c. 20. t Book viii. c. 2. 

M 2 


proof ; and may He deem you worthy of eternal life with 
us, by the mediation of his beloved Son Jesus Christ, 
our God and Saviour, with whom be glory to Him the 
Sovereign God and Father in the Holy Ghost the 
Comforter, now and ever, world without end. Amen." 
Here is no prayer to Mary, no reference to her merits 
and intercession, no ascription of glory to her and the 
Saviour conjointly. God in Christ is all in all. 


Athanasius, the renowned and undaunted defender 
of the Catholic faith, was born about the year 296 ; 
and, after presiding in the Church as bishop for more 
than forty-six years, died about a.d. 373, approaching his 
80th year. It is impossible for any one interested in 
the question, "What is truth?" to look upon the be- 
lief and practice of this primitive Christian champion 
with indifference. On the subject of our present in- 
vestigation, few among the early writers of the Churcli 
have been so grossly and recklessly misrepresented in 
his belief and in his practice as Athanasius. Bellar- 
min and others cite him as a witness in favour of the 
invocation of the Virgin, whereas a careful and upright 
study of his remains brings before us a man who had 
taken most true and scriptural views of the Christian's 
hope and confidence in God alone ; the glowing fervour 
of his piety centring only in the Lord, — his sure and 
certain hope in life and in death anchoring only in the 
mercies of God, through the merits and mediation of 

* Benedict, ed. Paris, 1698. Padua, 1777 — In this edition some 
fragments ascribed to Athanasius, and found in certain catenae, &c., 
have been introduced, some of which are of a doubtful character, and 
others evidently spurious. 


Jesus Christ alone, our only Mediator, Advocate, and 

It is a painful subject ; and, were the truth not at 
stake, we might gladly have drawn a veil over it, and 
hidden it from the eyes of others and our own. Anx- 
ious as we may be to avoid whatever might savour of 
personal charges, the truth as it is in Jesus impera- 
tively calls upon us to lay open before the world the 
expedients by which the worship of the Virgin Mary 
is attempted to be defended in our own country, in 
our own times, and by persons whose authority seems 
to have assumed the highest place among our Roman 
Catholic brethren. 

A homily formerly ascribed to St. Athanasius, but 
which has been long rejected as spurious and apocry- 
phal, continues to be quoted now at the present day as 
genuine. Bellarmin so appeals to it ; and had he 
been the only writer, or the last writer, who had cited 
this homily as the testimony of St. Athanasius, it 
would have been enough for us to refer to the judg- 
ment of the Benedictine editors who have since Bellar- 
inin's time classed this homily among the spurious 
works* which had been without reason assigned to 
Athanasius. Or rather, we might have referred the 
whole matter to Bellarmin himself. For it is very re- 
markable, that though, in his anxiety to enlist every 
able writer to defend the cause of the invocation of 
saints, he has cited this homily in his Church Tri- 
umphant as containing the words of Athanasius, with- 
out any allusion to its decided spuriousness, or even to 
any doubt or suspicion attached to it, and although he 
again appeals to itf precisely in the same manner, 

* Vol. ii. pp. 390. 401. 

t Vol. ii. p. 515. De Cult. Sanct, lib. iii. c.xvi. Prague, 1721. 


and without any qualification whatever, in proof of the 
antiquity of the feast of the Annunciation, on which 
this homily was said to have been delivered by Atha- 
nasius; yet, when pronouncing his judgment on the 
different works assigned to Athanasius, he condemns 
this same treatise as a forgery, declaring the evidence 
against it to be irresistible.* Dr. Nicholas Wise- 
man, Bishop of Melopotamus, thus introduces and 
comments upon the passage, or rather the extracts 
drawn from the homily in question : 

" St. Athanasius, the most zealous and strenuous sup- 
porter that the Church ever possessed of the divinity 
of Jesus Christ, and consequently of his infinite supe- 
riority over all the saints, thus enthusiastically ad- 
dresses his ever- blessed mother : ' Hear now, O 
daughter of David ; incline thine ear to our prayers ; 
we raise our cry to thee. Remember us, O most holy 
Virgin, and, for the feeble eulogiums we give thee, 
grant us great gifts from the treasures of thy graces, 
thou that art full of grace. Hail Mary, full of grace, 
the Lord is with thee. Queen and Mother of God in- 
tercede for us.' " Mark well," continues Dr. Wiseman, 
" these words, ' grant us great gifts from the treasures 
of thy graces,' as if he hoped directly to receive them 
from her. Do Catholics use stronger words than 
these; or did Athanasius think or speak with us, or 
with. Protestants?" t [Dr. Wiseman's note refers us 
to " Serm. in Annunt. t. ii. p. 401."] 

To these questions the direct answer is, that neither 
these words, nor the homily from which they are 

* Bellarmin, De Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticis. Cologne, 1617, vol. vii. 
p. 50. 

t Dr. Wiseman's Lectures, vol. ii. p. 108, London, Booker, 1836. 
Berington and Kirk, pp.430, 431. 


quoted, ever came from the pen of Athanasius ; 
and moreover, that the irrefutable proof of their spu- 
riousness is drawn out at large by the Benedictine 
editors in the very edition and the identical volume 
of the works of Athanasius to which Dr. Wiseman re- 
fers for his authority when he quotes the passage as 

The above quotation (made up of different sen- 
tences selected from different clauses, and put to- 
gether so as to make one paragraph,) is found in a 
homily called " On the Annunciation of the Mother 
of God." How long before the time of Baronius this 
homily had been discarded as spurious, or how long 
its genuineness had been suspected, does not appear ; 
but certainly two centuries and a half ago, and re- 
peatedly since, it has been condemned as totally and 
indisputably spurious, and has been excluded from the 
works of Athanasius as a forgery, not by members 
only of the Reformed Church, but by most zealous 
and steady adherents to the Church of Rome, and 
the most strenuous defenders of her doctrines and 

The Benedictine editors who published the remains 
of St. Athanasius in 1698, class the works contained 
in the second volnvne under two beads, the doubtful 
and the spurious ; and the homily in question is 
ranked, without hesitation, among the spurious. In 
the middle of that volume, they not only declare the 
work to be unquestionably a forgery, assigning the 
reasons for their decision, but they fortify tbeir own 
judgment by quoting at length the letter written by 
the celebrated Baronius, more than a century before, 
to our countryman Stapleton. Both these documents 
are very interesting, and compel us at every turn to 


renew our astonishment that such a homily should be 
so quoted in the present day without any allusion to 
its spurious or doubtful character. 

The Benedictine editors begin their preface thus : ''^ 
" That this discourse is spurious, there is no learned 
itself, more clear than the sun, to he dlffeTent ftom 
that of Athanasius. Besides this, very many trifles 
shew themselves here unworthy of any sensible man 
whatever, not to say of Athanasius ; and a great number 
of expressions unknown to Athanasius, so that it sa- 
vours of lower Greek. And truly his subtle disputa- 
tion of the hypostasis of Christ, and on the two natures 
in Christ, persuades us that the writer lived after the 
Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon ; of which councils 
moreover he uses the identical words : whereas his dis- 
sertation on the two wills in Christ seems to argue 
that he lived after the spreading of the error of the Mo- 
nothelites. But " (continue these editors) " we would 
add here the dissertation of Baronius on the subject, 
sent to us by our brethren from Rome. That illus- 
trious annotator, indeed, having read only the Latin 
version of Nannius, which is clearer than the Greek, 
did not observe the astonishing perplexity of the 

The dissertation which the Benedictine editors ap- 
pend was contained in a letter written by Baronius to 
Stapleton in consequence of some animadversions 
which Stapleton had communicated to Cardinal Alleu 
on the judgment of Baronius. The letter is dated 
Rome, Nov. 1592. The judgment of Baronius on the 

* This preface wm be found at p. 332, vol. ii. of the Paduan edi- 
tion of 1777, where the homily is ranked without any doubt among 
the spurious works. 


spuriousness of this homily had been published to the 
world some time previously ; for, after preliminary 
words of kindness and respect to his correspondent, 
Baronius proceeds to say, that, when on the former 
occasion he published his sentiments on this homily, 
it was only cursorily and by the way, his work then 
being on another subject. Nevertheless, he conceived 
that the little he had then stated would be sufficient 
to shew that the homily was not the production of 
Athanasius, and that all persons of learning who were 
DESIROUS OF THE TRUTH would freely agree with him ; 
nor was he in this expectation disappointed, for very 
many expressed their agreement with him, congra- 
tulating him on separating legitimate from spurious 
children. In addition to the arguments adopted from 
him by the Benedictines, Baronius urges this fact, 
that though Cyril had the works of Athanasius in 
his custody, and though both the disputing parties ran- 
sacked every place for sentiments of Athanasius coun- 
tenancing their tenets, yet neither at Ephesus nor at 
Chalcedon was this homily quoted, though it must 
have driven Eutyches and Nestorius from the field, so 
exact are its definitions and statements on the points 
then at issue, Baronius adds, that, so far from revers- 
ing the judgment which he had before passed against 
the genuineness of this homily, he was compelled in 
justice to declare his conviction that it could not have 
been written till after the heresy of the Monothelites 
had been spread abroad. This would fix its date, at 
the very earliest, subsequently to the commencement 
of the SEVENTH century, three hundred years after 
Athanasius attended the Council of Nicsea. Among 
the last words of Baronius we read this sentiment, 
which can never be neglected without injury to the 


cause of truth, and which, if uniformly applied in our 
religious discussions, would soon bring controversy 
within far narrower limits, and gradually convert it 
from angry warfare into a friendly interchange of 
opinions : " Nor do I consider these sentiments con- 
cerning Athanasius to be affirmed with any detriment 
to the Church ; for the Church suffers no loss on this 
account, who, being the pillar and ground of the truth, 
shrinks very far from seeking, like jEsop's jackdaw, 
helps and ornaments which are not her own : the 
bare truth shines more beautiful in her own naked 

And yet, after this utter repudiation of the whole 
homily, as a work falsely attributed to Athanasius; 
after its unqualified condemnation by Bellarmin ; after 
the Benedictine editors have declared, that "there 
was no learned man who did not adjudge it to be 
spurious, the forgery being self-condemned by evi- 
dence clearer than the sun ; after Baronius has ex- 
pressed his assurance that all learned men de- 
sirous OF THE TRUTH would agree with him in pro- 
nouncing it to be spurious; — after all this, we find 
it quoted in evidence as the genuine work of Atha- 
nasius in the middle of the nineteenth century, with- 
out the faintest shadow of an allusion to the combined 
judgment by which it has been condemned, or even 
to any suspicion ever having been entertained of its 
being a forgery. 

The genuine works of Athanasius himself prove 
him to have thought and spoken with the Church of 
England, and not with the Church of Rome, on the 
invocation of the Virgin Mary. Whilst he speaks of 
God having taken our nature upon him, Athanasius 
again and again calls Mary " the holy Virgin who bare 


God."* But not one single sentence has been found 
indicating either his acknowledgment of her as a medi- 
ator and intercessor, or his practice of invoking her 
succour and her prayers. But many passages might be 
cited which prove him to have looked to God alone, 
through Christ alone, for the supply of all his temporal 
and spiritual wants. We have been detained so long on 
the spurious homily assigned to him, that we cannot 
make room (as we should have wished) for his entire 
comment on St. Paul's expressions, 1 Thess. chap. iii. 
V. 11, when, in his third oration against the Arians, he 
would prove from it the unity of the Father and the 
Son. The argument at large will amply repay a careful 
examination ; its opening sentences are these : 

" Thus then again, when he is praying for the Thes- 
salonians, and saying, ' Now our God and Father him- 
self, and the Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you,' 
he preserves the unity of the Father and the Son ; for 
he says not, ' May they direct,' as though a two-fold 
grace were given from Him and Him, but, ' May He 
direct,' to shew that the Father giveth this through the 
Son. F^or if there was not an unity, and the Word 
was not the proper offspring of the Father's substance, 
as the radiation of the light, but the Son was distinct 
in nature from the Father, it had sufficed for the 
Father alone to have made the gift, no generated being 
partaking with the Maker in the gifts. But now such 
a giving proves the unity of the Father and the Son. 
Thus, no one would pray to receive any thing from 
God AND the angels, or from any other created 
BEING ; nor would any one say, ' May God and the 
angels give it thee ;' but from the Father and the Son, 

* See the close of his work on the Incarnation. 


because of their unity, and the oneness of the gifts. 
For whatsoever is given, is given through the Son; nor is 
there anything which the Father works, except through 
the Son ; for thus the receiver has the gracious favour 
without fail." 

In what broad contrast does this doctrine of Atha- 
nasius stand with a prayer said to be approved by 
Pius VI., and defended by Dr. Wiseman in his Re- 
marks on a Letter from the Rev. W. Palmer ; London, 
1841, p. 36: " Jesus, Joseph, and Mary, I offer you 
my heart and my soul. Jesus, Joseph, and Mary, assist 
me in my last agony. Jesus, Joseph, and Mary, may 
my soul expire in peace with you." These things are 
now, but from the beginning it was not so. 

Athanasius was ever bent on establishing the per- 
fect divinity and humanity of Christ, and be thus 
speaks : " The general scope of Holy Scripture is to 
make a general announcement concerning the Saviour, 
that he was always God, and is a Son, being the Word, 
and brightness, and wisdom of the Father; and that 
He afterwards became man for us, taking flesh of the 
Virgin Mary, WHO bare God."* 

* Tfje BeoroKov. Those who would depend upon this word tkeotocos 
as a proof of the exalted honour in which the early Christians held the 
Virgin, and not rather of their anxiety to preserve -whole and entire 
the doctrine of the union of perfect God and perfect man in the person of 
Christ deriving his manhood through her, would do well to weigh the 
language of the Fathers in some analogous cases. The Apostle James 
(for example), called in Scripture the Lord's brother, was afterwards 
named Adelphotheos, or God's brother ; not to exalt him above his 
fellow Apostles, but to declare the faith of those who gave him that 
name, that the Lord Jesus was very God. Just so the word theotocos 
— or " she who gave birth to God" — was applied to Mary, not to exalt 
her, but to declare the Catholic faith in the Godhead of Him, who was 
born of Mary. See Joan. Damasc. Horn. ii. c. 18. In Dormit. Virg. 
vol. ii. p. 881. Le Quien, Paris, 1712. 


The works of St. Athanasius have been carefully 
examined, with a view to our present inquiry ; and not 
one single passage can be discovered indicative of any 
worship of the Virgin, or any belief in her power and 
intercession, or any invocation of her even for her 
prayers. " No one would pray," he says, " to receive 
any thing from God and the holy angels, or any other 

* Benedict, vol. i. p. 561 ; Paduan ed. vol. i. p. 444. 





CYRIL OF JERUSALEM, a. d. 340.* 

The link in the chain of primitive writers which 
connects the testimonies of those who flourished before 
or during the Nicene Council with those who followed, 
is Cyril, Archbishop of Jerusalem. This celebrated 
and revered patriarch in the Christian household was 
probably born about ten years before that council, 
and was ordained deacon by Macarius, and priest by 
Maximus, who were his immediate predecessors in the 
episcopate of Jerusalem, and who probably had both 
attended at Nicsea. 

The principal work of Cyril, and which has been 
generally ranked among the most interesting remains 
of Christian antiquity, consists of eighteen catechetical 
lectures which he delivered to the candidates for bap- 
tism through the weeks before Easter, and five which 
he addressed after that festival to those who had then 
been admitted into the Church. These lectures take 
so wide and so general a view of all the doctrines of 

♦ Edit. Oxford, 1703, by T. Miles ; Paris, 1728, Ed. Benedict.; 
Venice, 1T68, ditto. 


Christianity, that we shall scarcely find a single point 
of theology omitted by him. He professes to instruct 
the catechumens in every branch of divine knowledge ; 
and, if prayers and supplications to the Virgin had then 
found a place among the devotions of the faithful, it is 
scarcely to be conceived that no mention would have 
been made of such a duty or practice, nor any expres- 
sion have fallen from him which could be supposed to 
allude to it. Such, however, is the case ; and that too 
not only when his subject might appear to lead his 
thoughts into another channel, but when his line of 
argument would seem naturally to suggest a reference 
to the religious honours paid to the Virgin. Rather 
we would say, in various instances, the total omission of 
her name affords conclusive evidence that the belief 
and practice of the Roman Church in the present day 
had no place in the Catholic Church in the days of 

Let us take for example the Confession, and the 
prayers in the Mass both before and after the consecra- 
tion of the host, and compare them with the record 
given of corresponding addresses in the time of Cyril. 
The Confession thus begins : " I confess to God Al- 
mighty, to the blessed Mary ever- Virgin, to the blessed 
Michael the Archangel, to the blessed John the Baptist, 
to the holy apostles Peter and Paul," &c.* 

In the prayer before consecration we now find these 
words : " Communicating with and venerating the me- 
mory of, in the first place, the glorious ever- Virgin Mary, 
Mother of our God and Lord Jesus Christ ; and like- 
wise also of thy blessed Apostles and Martyrs," &c. 
And in the prayer after consecration we read this 

* Cat. xxiii. 9. 


supplication : " Deliver us, O Lord, we beseech thee, 
from all evils present, past, and to come ; and by the 
intercession of the blessed and glorious ever- Virgin 
Mary, Mother of God, with thy blessed Apostles," &c. 

But Cyril, when describing the order in the celebra- 
tion of the Holy Eucharist observed by the Church in 
his day, though he tells us that they made mention of 
archangels, apostles, and martyrs, yet makes no allusion 
whatever to the Virgin Mary. Could this be so, if she 
held in those days that place in the religious services 
of Christians which she now holds in the Church of 

" After this" (after the priest has said, " Let us give 
thanks to the Lord," and the people have responded, "It 
is meet and right,") " we make mention of the heaven, 
and the earth, and the sea, and the stars, and all the 
creation rational and irrational, visible and invisible, 
angels, archangels, &c., virtually employing the expres- 
sion of David, ' Magnify the Lord with me.' " " Then* 
we make mention also of those who have fallen asleep 
before us, first patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, 
that by their prayers and intercessions God would 
receive our supplications." 

If the Church of Christ taught then as the Church 
of Rome now teaches, that the Virgin Mary M^as 
" exalted above the Choir of Angels into the kingdom 
of heaven, to the ethereal chamber in which the King 
of kings sits on his starry throne," could Cyril of 

* It has been held that this second paragraph is an interpolation of 
a much later date than Cyril's own work ; but, without some stronger 
arguments than we have yet seen, we could not pronounce against its 
genuineness. If it is the production of a subsequent age, the argu- 
ment in the text becomes only stronger and more remarkable. 


Jerusalem, when detailing with such minuteness the 
various particulars of the service whieh he daily wit- 
nessed, have omitted all mention of her name ? 

Again, in this extraordinary and interesting com- 
pendium of Christian doctrine, Cyril dwells with 
much fulness of argument and illustration on the 
divine generation of Christ by the Holy Spirit, and 
of the Virgin Mary. He exposes with much evident 
anxiety the baneful heresy of those who held that 
our Lord was not born of a Virgin, but was the son 
of Joseph and of Mary. In the course of his argu- 
ment proving Christ to be God of the substance of 
his Father begotten before the worlds, and man of 
the substance of his mother born in the world, many 
occasions offered themselves, which would not only 
have naturally admitted, but have called for, a state- 
ment of the judgment of the Church, or at least 
some reference to it as a doctrine acknowledged by 
all : * and yet not one word as to her nature, or 
character, or the honour due to her name, or her 
advocacy with God, or invocations of her patronage, 
occurs throughout. Cyril speaks of her as " the pure 
and holy Virgin Mary ;" he speaks of Christ as " God 
born of the Virgin ;"f he applies to her the word 
" theotocos," " she who gave birth to God ;" just 
as we shall find the most approved writers of the 
Church of England speaking of her, but nothing more. 
We find no allusion to her birth or her death, or to 
her state after death ; nor any reference to her life, 
except just so far as the Gospel itself informs us of 
her. In the following passages the Annunciation to 
Mary of the birth of our Lord, the fact of her con- 

* Cat. X. 19. t Cat. xii. 24. 



ception of Christ by the Holy Spirit, the affectionate 
commendation of her to the care of St. John, made 
by our Saviour on the cross, are cursorily mentioned 
and argued from as acknowledged verities ; but not a 
syllable occurs which would lead us to suppose that 
the Christian Catechist in Jerusalem in the middle 
of the fourth century thought otherwise of the Virgin 
Mary, or acted differently towards her, than true 
members of the Church of England now think and 

" By a virgin, Eve, came death : it was fitting 
that by a virgin, or rather of a virgin, life should 
appear ; in order that, as a serpent deceived the 
one, so should Gabriel announce glad tidings to the 
other." * 

" This is that Holy Spirit which came upon the 
holy Mary. He made her holy, that she might have 
power to receive him by whom all things were 

The following passage deserves to be well weighed : 

" And the only begotten Son of God himself, when 
nailed in his flesh to the wood at the time of the 
crucifixion, seeing Mary, his own mother according to 
the flesh, and John, the most beloved of the disciples, 
to him he says, 'Behold thy mother,' and to Mary, 
' Behold thy son;' teaching her the maternal affection 
that was due, and obliquely accomplishing what is 
said by Luke, ' And his father and his mother mar- 
velled,' which heretics lay hold of, saying that he was 
produced by a man and a woman : for just as Mary 
was the mother of John on account of her maternal 
affection, not by giving him birth ; so Joseph was 

• Cat. xii. M. 6. B.15. t Cat. xvii. B. 6. M. 4. 


called the father of Christ, not by generation, (for, 
according to the Gospel, he knew her not until she 
brought forth her first-born son,) but on account of 
the care which was taken in bringing him up." * 

In the following passage he suggests an answer to 
those unbelieving Jews who, from the impossibility of 
a human being coming into existence if either father 
or mother be wanting, argued against the incarnation 
of our Lord. " Ask them," he says, " of whom, at the 
beginning, was Eve begotten ? What mother con- 
ceived her who had no mother ? Was then Eve born 
without a mother from the side of a man, and may not 
a child be born without a father from a virgin's womb ? 
A service was due to man from woman ; for Eve sprang 
from Adam, not conceived by a mother, but, so to 
speak, brought forth by man alone. Mary, then, re- 
paid this service; not by man, but immediately, with- 
out pollution, by herself conceiving by the Holy 
Ghost through the power of God."t We are not aware 
of any other passage in Cyril bearing on our subject; 
and, in those to which we have referred, there is not 
the slightest intimation of any religious honour being 
at that time paid to Mary. He strenuously contends 
for the true doctrine, (as our own article expresses 
it,) that " the Son, who is the Word of the Father, 
begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and 
eternal God of one substance with the Father, took 
man's nature in the womb of the Blessed Virgin of 
her substance ;" but in all his arguments and state- 
ments he exalts God alone, and speaks of Mary 
only as we speak of her, as a pure and holy virgin, 
blessed among women, the mysterious instrument in 

* Cat. vii. 9. t Cat. xii. (29.) 13. 

N 2 


God's band of effecting the miraculous birth of him who 
made all things. The evidence of Cyril is positive 
and irrefutable against the prevalence of any such 
religious worship, whether it be called dulia or hyper- 
dulia, as is now offered to her in the Church of 

Before we dismiss this witness, we are induced to 
quote one passage, though not connected immediately 
with our present inquiry ; because it seems to express 
briefly, and simply, but most powerfully, a principle of 
prime importance to the Christian student, to which 
it were well for the cause of the Gospel, and our 
own peace and consolation, if all of us who profess 
and call ourselves Christians would more steadily 

"The Father, through the Son, with the Holy 
Ghost, dispenses every grace. The gifts of the Father, 
of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, are not different 
each from the other. For one is the salvation, one the 
power, one the faith. One God, the Father; one 
Lord, his only-begotten Son ; one the Holy Ghost, the 
Comforter. And it is abundantly sufficient \_ciVTccgzsg'] 
for us to know this. But do not busy yourself about 
his nature or substance; for, had it been written, we 
would have spoken of it. On what is not written let 
us not venture. It is abundantly suflicient for us to 
know for our salvation that there is Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost."* 

* Cat. xvi. 12. 



Whilst Cyril, Archbishop of Jerusalem, testifies 
that the Church of Christ in the East was in his 
time free from all such worship of the Virgin Mary as 
the Church of Rome now prescribes, his contemporary, 
Hilary, establishes the same fact as to the Church in 
the West. Hilary, as the most credible accounts re- 
port, was born at Poictiers ; of which city he became 
Bishop about the year 350, or 366. Having pre- 
sided over that see with chequered fortune, but with 
untarnished character, for about twelve years, and 
having proved himself to be one of the brightest or- 
naments of the Gallican Church, he was called from 
his persecutions and his honours to that rest which 
remaineth for the people of God. 

The chief works of Hilary now extant are his Com- 
mentary on the Psalms and on the Gospel of St. 
Matthew, and his book on the Holy Trinity. 

The principle of interpretation which he has adopted 
generally throughout, representing the Psalmist as 
speaking in the person of our Saviour, or of his faithful 
disciples, and giving to each psalm a Christian applica- 
tion, leads him to speak constantly of the Saviour's 
incarnation •, and thus would an occasion have of- 
fered itself repeatedly of expressing his sentiments as 
to the station and nature of the Virgin Mary, had 
any such views been present to his mind, as our 
Roman Catholic brethren now entertain. On the 
contrary, he never refers to any especial honour either 
paid to her by himself or his fellow-Christians, or consi- 
dered by him to be her due. She is not alluded to as 
exercising any patronage, as having any power or in- 

* Benedictine edit. Paris. 1693. Veronse, 1730. 


fluence in heaven or on earth, or as having already 
been received into glory. Hilary, together with the 
great body of the earliest Christian writers, is clear 
and explicit in the statement of his belief that the 
angels of God are messengers between heaven and 
earth, bearing the prayers of the faithful to God's 
throne, and conveying blessings down to those who 
love Him : he represents it as their great duty and 
delight, in obedience to the appointment of the Sove- 
reign Lord of all, to exercise every benevolent office 
in promoting the present well-being and the eternal 
salvation of those who believe in their Father and 
our Father, in their God and our God. Hilary speaks 
with honour and gratitude of the Apostles, Evange- 
lists, Martyrs, Patriarchs, as objects of our pious con- 
templation ; thoiigh he takes care to warn us that 
our help can come from God only, and that the Sa- 
viour himself is the only ground of our hope. But of 
the Virgin Mary (excepting in one passage in which 
he tells us that even she herself, though the mother 
of our Lord, must yet undergo the general judgment) 
he speaks only as Mary, or the Virgin ; and that not 
with any reference to her character, nor, except as a 
pure virgin, to any honour due to her, but solely as 
the mother of Christ. Indeed, how very far he was 
from entertaining those sentiments towards her which 
we consider unjustifiable, but which are cherished 
by the Church of Rome, a striking evidence is con- 
veyed (among many others) in his manner of advert- 
ing to the announcement of our Saviour's name by 
the Angel to Joseph. " Now our word Saviour is, in 
the Hebrew, Jesus. And this the Angel confirms, 
when speaking of Mary to Joseph, ' She shall bring 
forth a Son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he 


shall save his people from their sins.'"* Repeating 
this same sentiment in his interpretation of another 
psalm,f he employs the same words, except that he 
omits all allusion to Mary. 

In his comment on St. Matthew :|: lie animadverts 
on the misrepresentations of irreligious men, who 
took occasion from the words of Scripture to form 
an unworthy estimate of Mary's character ; and he 
maintains (as many divines of the Reformed Church 
have maintained) that she never had any children 
by Joseph after our blessed Saviour's birth : a point 
which, with his equally pious contemporary, Basil, 
whose testimony we must soon examine, we may well 
leave as Scripture has left it. 

The passage, however, to which we have already 
alluded, and in which he speaks of the necessity under 
which Mary was, though she were the mother of our 
Lord yet not less than all others, of undergoing the 
future and final judgment of God, requires the serious 
and candid consideration of all who would defend the 
present Roman doctrine concerning the blessed Virgin 
by the evidence of saints and doctors of the primitive 
Church. In citing this passage, and in laying side by 
side with it the sentiments of Hilary elsewhere express- 
ed as to those who are to be judged, we express no 
opinion as to the soundness of his doctrine, or the ac- 
curacy of his quotations, or of his interpretation of Scrip- 
ture. If bis views approve themselves as correct, that 
will add nothing to the strength of our argument ; if 
we must withhold our assent from them, that will not 
detract one iota from its force ; the simple question 
being, What is the evidence borne by Hilary on the 

' Ps. 66, p. 186. Veronee, p. 210. t Ps. 51. Veronaj, p. 

j Matt. i. p. 612. Veronae, C71. 



worsliip and invocation of the Virgin Mary ? We find 
that he never speaks of her as an object of religious 
reverence ; and we now ask, Had Hilary entertained 
towards her such sentiments as we find expressed in 
the authorized services of the Roman Church, could he 
have written such passages as the following ? 

" He who believeth in me is not judged, but passes 
from death unto life ; but he who believeth not is 
already judged. Since, then, the saint is not to be 
judged, who is to pass from death into life, and the 
infidel is already judged to punishment, it is understood 
that judgment is left for those who, according to the 
nature of their deeds between sins and faith, are to be 
judged." ^^ 

" The Prophet remembered that it was a hard thing 
and most perilous to human nature to desire God's 
judgment ; for, since no man living is clean in his 
sight, how can his judgment be desirable ? Since we 
must render an account of every idle word, shall we 
desire the judgment-day, in which we must undergo 
that incessant fire, and those severe punishments of 
a soul to be cleansed from sin ? A sword shall pass 
through the soul of the blessed Mary, that the 
thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. If that 
Virgin who conceived God is to come into the severity 
of judgment, who will dare to be judged by Grod 1 "f 

Some passages ascribed to Hilary are constantly 
appealed to in vindication of the worship of the Vir- 
gin, in which that author contrasts the evil brought 
into the world by Eve, with the blessing of which 
Mary was the channel. But in the following passage 
Hilary does not allude to Mary at all, though he is 

* Ps. 57, p. 126. Veronas, p. 143. 

t Ps. 118-119, p. 262. Veronee, p. 294. 


contrasting the original source of sin and misery de- 
rived from a woman with the restoration of fallen man 
by Christ, made known by a kind of retribution first 
to women. He speaks of the female sex ; of the per- 
son of Mary he says nothing. " But inasmuch as 
some poor women""' see our Lord, first salute him, fall 
down at his knees, are commanded to bear the tidin_§-s 
to the Apostle,! tbe oxder of tbe original cause is 
reversed ; so that as death began from that sex, so 
to it the glory, tind sight, and fruit, and tidings of ti)e 
resurrection should first be made." 

It would be an easy and a pleasing task, did not the 
object and plan of this work preclude us from entering 
upon it, to quote passages truly interesting and im- 
proving to Christians, which would place in a clear 
and strong light the spiritual character of the religion 
of Hilary. At one time he puts before us in very 
awakening language the dangers which beset us on 
every side.l He describes the perils to which every 
department of nature gives birth, and against which 
the Christian must be ever on his guard : the very 
gems of unknown seas, and gold dug from the bowels 
of the earth, tempting us to covetousness ; the trou- 
bles of life, the wantonness and unholy desires of our 
fellow-creatures, the example and influence of those 
in high places, soliciting us to sin, with a seductiveness 
too powerful for our frail nature to withstand. Then 
he bids us look to God, almighty and omnipresent, 
assuring us that he will never forsake the man who 
trusts in Him; but will give him strength against 
every enemy to his salvation, and bring him safe to 
Himself at last. At another time he bids us look 

* Muliercute. t St. Matt. chap, last, p. 751. Veronae, 810. 
+ Ps. lg|-. 


to the angels and prophets who are employed by their 
heavenly Master in forwarding our salvation by their 
ministry, admonishing us, contemplating their holy 
offices of obedience and love, to lift our heart heaven- 
ward ; but ever looking beyond them to Him alone, 
from whom every good and perfect gift comes down on 
sinful and redeemed man.* 

To confess God as our help, and to know that God 
for our sakes became man, he declares to be a true 
confession, a never-failing hope, worthy of the gifts 
of the heavenly blessingf — our only hope. 

Hilary's description of the Christian's day, as it was 
passed by him and his fellow-disciples in Christ's 
school, must close our present reference to his highly 
valuable remains : 

The day is opened with prayers to God, 
The day is closed with hymns to God.J 


Macarius, of Egypt, flourished about the middle of 
the fourth century. Fifty of his discourses have come 
down to our day : in them he speaks much of virgin- 
pureness, with which the soul and body of a Christian 
must be dedicated to God ; but though there would 
have been ample room and frequent opportunities for 
referring to the Virgin Mary, (which later writers 
seldom fail to seize in their anxiety to exalt her,) yet 
he never refers to her once, except as the mother of 
whom Christ took his human nature. And he tells 
us that the body which Christ took of Mary he lifted 
upon the cross. § 

* Ps. izq, p. 379. t Ibid, and Ps. 122, p. 391. Veron», 444. 
X Ps. 64. § Paris, 1622. Horn. xi. p. 61. 


There is indeed a broad contrast between the lan- 
guage of this early preacher and of the eulogists 
and worshippers of Mary in later times.* Instead of 
calling Mary the " Spouse of God," as they often do 
with painful indelicacy and presumption, he describes 
the human soul, created in the image of God, and after 
the fall purified by the Holy Spirit, and prepared for 
the heavenly visitor, as that spouse. Macarius could 
not have so written, had the modern notions and Ian- 
guage about the Virgin Mary been then prevalent. 
Macarius speaks much and beautifully of prayer and 
praise, but it is prayer and praise addressed only to God. 

The following sentiments, part of the twentieth 
homily, taken one by one, are so utterly inconsistent 
with the modern doctrine of a Christian looking to 
Mary for his cure and remedy, the enlightening and 
guiding of his mind, his salvation from sin, and safety 
in death, — and they are in themselves so full of the 
truths of the Gospel in their primitive simplicity, bid- 
ding us to approach God alone in Christ, and to 
place our hope and trust in no other guide, physician, 
restorer, advocate, or patron, — that few will grudge the 
space taken up by the rehearsal of them. 

" Let such a soul then ask of Christ, who is the 
bestower, and clothes us with glory in light unspeakable; 
not making to itself a clothing of vain thoughts, de- 
ceived by a fancy of its own righteousness Let us 

then implore and pray God to clothe us with the gar- 
ment of salvation — our Lord Jesus Christ ; for the souls 
Avho are clothed with him shall never be stripped, but 
in the resurrection even their bodies shall be glorified. 
. . . Glory be to Him for his unutterable pity and un- 
speakable mercy. As the woman with an issue of 

* Horn, xlvii. p. 2SS. 


blood, believing in truth and touching the hem of our 
Lord's garment, immediately obtained a cure, and the 
flowing of the impure fountain of blood was dried up ; 
thus every soul having the incurable wound of sin — the 
fountain of impious and wicked thoughts,— if it will ap- 
proach to Christ, believing in truth, will receive a saving 
remedy from the incurable fountain of the passions; 
and that fountain that sends forth impure thoughts 
, is dried up, and fails by the power of Jesus alone : 
nor can this wound be cured by any other. For in the 
transgression of Adam the enemy so managed as to 
wound and darken the inner man — the mind that leads, 
and that sees God. Afterwards, his eyes looked to 
evil and to the passions, swerving from heavenly goods. 
He was therefore so wounded as to be healed by no one 
but the Lord only ; by him alone is it possible. For 
as the woman with an issue of blood, spending all her 
substance on persons able to cure, was healed by none 
of them until she approached the Lord, believing in 
truth and touching his hem, and thus immediately she 
felt the cure, and the issue of blood stanched ; so the 
soul, wounded from the beginning with an incurable 
wound of the evil of the passions, no one of the right- 
eous, neither Fathers, nor Prophets, nor Patriarchs could 
cure. Moses came, but he was unable altogether to 
give a remedy. Priests, gifts, tithes, sabbaths, new 
moons, washings, sacrifices, whole-burnt-oflferings, and 
all the other justification was accomplished in the Law •, 
and yet the soul could not be healed and cured from 
the impure issue of evil thoughts. And all this justi- 
fication could not heal him until the Saviour came, the 
true physician, who cures freely, who gave himself a 
ransom for men. He alone effected the great and 
saving liberation and freedom of the soul. He freed it 


from slavery, and brought it out of darkness, glorifying 
it with his own light ; he himself dried in it the foun- 
tain of impure thoughts. For its own earthly remedies, 
that is, its own justifications, alone could not cure and 
heal it from such an unseen wound ; but by the heavenly 
and divine nature of the gift of the Holy Ghost, by this 
medicine alone, could man obtain healing and attain to 
life, being cleansed in tlie beait by the Holy Spirit. . . . 
As the blind man, had he not cried out, and as the- 
woman with the issue of blood, had she not come to 
the Lord, would not have been healed ; so a man, unless 
of his own will and his whole choice, he comes to the 
Lord, and with the full assurance of faith prays, does 
not obtain a remedy. What is the reason that they, 
believing, wei'e immediately healed, but we do not yet 
see in truth, and are not healed of our secret passions ; 
and yet the Lord has more care for the immortal soul 
than for the body ? For if the Lord, when he came 
on earth, attended to the corruptible bodies, how much 
more the immortal soul made after his own likeness ? 
It is through our want of faith, through our divisions, 
because we do not love bim with all onr heart, nor in 
truth believe on him, we have not yet obtained our 
spiritual healing and salvation. Let us believe on him 
therefore, and let us draw nigh to him in truth, that he 
may speedily work a cure in us ; for he has promised 
to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him, and to 
open to them that knock, and that those who seek shall 
find ; and he is incapable of falsehood who promises. 
To Him be glory and power for ever. Amen." 

In Macarius there is no trace of any other Giver to 
whom we should apply than God — no Virgin to whom, 
or through whom, we should apply, no mediator ex- 
cept the Lord Jesus Christ only. 



Epiphanius was Bishop of Salamis, in the island of 
Cyprus, a few years after the middle of the fourth 
century. We shall, probably, be safe in fixing- the 
date of his testimony at about a.d. 370. Many Chris- 
tian writers appear from time to time in subsequent 
years of the same name ; a circumstance, among 
others, with reason represented as the cause of works 
having been ascribed to him which evidently have 
no pretensions to so high antiquity. 

Among his genuine productions, the most important 
is his work on the heresies which had then already 
appeared in the world to distract the peace of the 
Church. In ascertaining the testimony borne by Epi- 
phanius on the question of the invocation of the Vir- 
gin Mary, our attention will of necessity be chiefly di- 
rected to his dicussion of the heresies relative to Mary 
herself; and, indeed, there are few passages besides 
that call for any examination-! The panegyric on the 
mother of God, bound up with his works, is confessedly 
of a much later date. 

Epiphanius, with many others of that age, as we, 
have already seen, regarded those Christians as guilty 
of heresy who would believe that the blessed Vir- 
gin lived with Joseph as his wife after she had given 
birth to our Lord ; and he always speaks of her 
with reverence, because of the mystery of the Sa- 
viour's incarnation, which she was the chosen mortal 
instrument of effecting. His anxiety throughout seems 
to be to give her the honour due to her office and cha- 
racter ; he speaks with indignation of those who could 

* Paris, 1622. 

t See Fabrieius, vol. viii. p. 275 ; and Oudin, vol.ii. p. 318. 


entertain disparaging views of her unsullied purity and 
holiness ; he had no doubt of her future perfect bliss, 
both body and soul, in the eternal kingdom of her Son. 
But of her " immaculate conception," her " assumption 
into heaven," her " exaltation to glory above the high- 
est angels," her " omnipotent intercession with the Al- 
mighty," the Church's " prayers to God for the blessings 
of her mediation," of her being the " channel through 
which every blessing must flow that comes from 
heaven to man," of the faithful " suppliantly invoking 
her, and flying to her prayers, help, and assistance," — 
of all these points Epiphanius seems to have known 
nothing. On the contrary, his testimony appears to be 
conclusive against the existence of any such doctrines 
prevailing in the Church as a body, or among Catholic 
Christians individually, in his time. But the reader will 
judge for himself how far this inference is justified. 
We are not aware of having omitted a single passage 
which could throw any additional light on the subject. 

The following extract is taken from his arguments 
against the heresy of Marcion (p. 352). 

" ' Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of 
God.' He accuses not all flesh. For how could that 
flesh be accused which never committed any of the 
above-mentioned acts ? But I will prove the point by 
other arguments. ' Who,' he says, ' will lay anything 
to the charge of God's elect ?' How will the holy 
Mary with her flesh not inherit the kingdom of God, 
who was never guilty of fornication, or uncleanness, or 
adultery, or any of those irremediable works of the 
flesh ? " 

In his dissertations on those heresies which re- 
lated to the nature, character, and office of the Vir- 
gin, he confesses that he had great difficulty in ascer- 


taining the precise views of the misbelievers ; and that 
some opinions reported to him were so monstrous in 
absurdity and impiety, that lie could scarcely bring him- 
self to believe what he had heard. Epiphanius then 
mentions three distinct heresies : 

First, the heresy of those who denied the perfect in- 
carnation of Christ ; some of whom maintained that he 
brought his body with him from heaven.* 

Secondly, of those who held that after Christ's birth 
Mary lived with Joseph as his wife.f 

Thirdly, those who on certain days religiously offer- 
ed cakes to Mary, and worshipped her.;j: 

In his work on these heresies, he quotes in full the 
letter § which he had written to his fathers, brothers, 
and children in Christ, who lived in Arabia, and who 
had been troubled by these false doctrines. With re- 
gard to Mary, whilst he indignantly asks, How could 
any one dare to speak disparagingly of her, who was 
selected out of so many thousands to be the mother of 
our Lord ? and whilst he urges that those who honour 
God will honour his saints, he declares, that, as to her 
death || and burial, he will affirm nothing, because the 
Scripture is so silent on the point as not even to tell 
us whether St. John took her with him in his jour- 
neys to those countries through which he preached the 
Gospel. He refers to some histories of the life of 
Mary, and shews clearly that he had heard strange 
opinions concerning her and Joseph ; he believed the 
report which made Joseph upwards of eighty years of 
age when Mary was espoused to him. 

Among his observations on the first of these he- 
resies, he says,^ " The body of the Saviour born of 

*P. 995. t P. 1033. J p. 1057. § P. 1034. 

II P. 1043. IT P. 1003. 


Mary, according to the Scripture, was a human and a 
true body. It was a true body, since it was the same 
with our own ; for Mary is our sister, since we all 
came from Adam." 

He afterwards proceeds to say, that "just as the 
perverse views of some heretics denying the Godhead 
of the Saviour, and severing him from the Father, 
drove others to the opposite error, and provoked them 
to say that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost 
were one and the same person ; so the vrnworthy doc- 
trines reflecting on the Virgin drove some persons to 
the opposite extreme, and provoked them to pay her 
divine worship — making her a deity — offering cakes in 
her name — assembling together and striving to honour 
her beyond due measure." 

Having then referred to the worship paid to Jephtha's 
daughter and to the daughter of Pharaoh, as instances 
of the tendency of mankind to superstition and turn- 
ing to evil from good, ever restless and fond of novelty, 
he immediately adds these very striking expressions : 

" For whether the holy Virgin be dead and buried, in 
that case her death is in honour, her end in purity, and 
her crown in virgiuhood ; or whether she was slain (as 
it is written, a sword shall pierce through her soul also), 
her glory is among martyrs, and the holy body of her, 
by whom light rose on the world, is in the midst of 
blessings ; or whether she remained, (for it is not im- 
possible forGod to do whatsoever he wishes, for her end 
IS NOT KNOWN,) we must not honour the saints beyond 
due measure, but honour their Lord. Let, then, the 
error of those deceived people cease. For neither is 
Mary a deity, nor deriving her body from heaven, but 
from the intercourse of a man and woman ; determined, 
as Isaac was, by promise. And let no one make offer- 



ings to her name, for he destroys his own soul ; nor, on 
the other hand, let him be so intoxicated as to insult 
the holy Virgin." 

In all these dissertations Epiphanius alludes to no 
especial honour due to the Virgin above other saints ; 
but as he began his letter to the Christians of Arabia 
by charging men to bring no calumnies against the 
Virgin (for, if they honoured God, they would honour 
his saints), so he ends the letter with these senti- 
ments : 

" The saints are in honour, their rest is in glory, 
their departure hence is in perfectness, their lot is 
blessedness, their society is with angels in holy man- 
sions, their dwelling is in heaven, their conversation is 
in divine writings, their glory is in honour beyond cal- 
culation and continuous, their rewards are in. Christ 
Jesu our Lord, through whom and with whom be glory 
to the Father, with the Holy Ghost, for ever."* 

His dissertation on the CoUyridian heresy he pre- 
faces by stating, that opposite extremes are equally 
bad, and the mischief is equal in both these heresies : 
on the one hand, of those who make light of the holy 
Virgin ; and on the other, of those who extol her be- 
yond propriety. Then, after some very severe remarks 
against the female sex as the originators of evil, he 
says that this heresy took its rise entirely in women, 
who were in the habit of preparing a sort of quadran- 
gular seat, and spreading a napkin, putting on bread 
and offering it to Mary's name; and then he prays 
God to enable him to cut up this idolatrous heresy by 
the roots. 

He begins by shewing, that through the Old Testa- 
ment we never find women exercising the priestly 

* P. 1056. 


office ; and under the New, if women were to be 
allowed to exercise it, or to be engaged in any of the 
canonical ordinances of the Church, it would rather 
have become Mary herself, the mother of our Lord, 
to discharge that office. But that was not allowed ; 
nor was even baptism committed to her. These 
sacred offices were never assigned to women. 

Having then described the tendency of men's minds, 
at the suggestion of the devil, to pay to mortals divine 
honours, departing from their allegiance to the one 
only God, and worshipping dead men and their lifeless 
images, he thus proceeds : " Nay, but the body of 
Mary is holy ! Yes, but not a deity. Nay, but the 
Virgin is a virgin, and honoured ! Yes, but not given 
for us to worship, but herself worshipping him who 
was born of her in the flesh. For this reason the Gos- 
pel confirms us, saying (in the words of our Lord), 
'Woman, what have I to do with thee?' Lest any should 
think that the holy Virgin was a being of superior ex- 
cellence, he calls her woman,— as if he prophesied on 
account of those divisions and heresies which were to 
take place on the earth, — in order that no one, by ad- 
miring the holy Virgin in excess, might fall into this 
folly of heresy. The whole story" (he continues) " is 
full of absurdity. For what Scripture speaks of it ? 
Which of the Prophets ever suffered a man to be wor- 
shipped, not to say, a woman? She is a chosen vessel, 
but she is a woman, and not at all changed in nature, 
though as to her mind and sense she is held in honour: 
as the bodies of the saints, or whatever else in point of 
honour I might mention more excellent ; as Elijah, a 
virgin from his birth, and continuing so throughout, 
and being taken up did not see death ; as John, who 


lay upon the bosom of our Lord, whom Jesus loved ; 
as the holy Thecla ; and as Mary, honoured above her, 
because of the dispensation of which she was deemed 
worthy. But neither is Elijah, though among the 
living, an object of worship ; nor is John an object of 
worship, though by his own prayer, or rather by receiv- 
ing grace from God, he made his death wonderful ; nor 
is Thecla, nor any one of the saints, an object of wor- 
ship. For the old error shall not lord it over us, that 
we should leave the Living One, and worship things 
made by him. ' For they served and worshipped the 
creature more than the Creator.' For, if he willeth 
not that the angels be worshipped, how much more is 
he unwilling that worship should be paid to her who was 
born of Anna, and was given to Anna from Joachim, 
given to the father and mother by promise, but never- 
theless not born differently from the nature of man ? " 

The remainder of the paragraph refers to what Epi- 
phanius calls " a tradition, and the history of Mary ;" 
which stated that the birth of Mary was promised by 
an angel to Joachim, but was by no means out of the 
ordinary course of nature. 

Again, he thus proceeds, " God the Word, as a Creator 
and of authority over the thing, formed himself from 
the Virgin, as from the earth, having clothed himself 
with flesh from the holy Virgin ; but, nevertheless, not 
a virgin to be worshipped, nor that he might make her 
a deity, — not that we might offer in her name, not 
that after so many generations women should become 
priestesses. God willed not this to take place in 
Salome, nor in Mary herself. He suffered her not to 
administer baptism, nor to bless the disciples ; he did 
not commission her to rule upon earth ; but only ap- 


pointed this, that she should be a holy thing, and be 
deemed worthy of his kingdom. Whence, then, is the 
coiling serpent ? Whence are his crooked counsels 
renewed ? Let Mary be in honour ; but let the Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost be worshipped. Let no one wor- 
ship Mary. The mystery [that sacred thing, religious 
worship] is assigned, I do not say, to no woman, but 
not even to any man: it is assigned to God. Neither 
do angels receive that ascription of glory [that dox- 
ology]. Let these errors written in the hearts of the 
deceived be wiped away. Let the evil generated at the 
tree be obliterated from our sight. Let the creature 
turn again to his Lord. Let Eve, with Adam, reve- 
rently learn to honour God only ; let her not be led by 
the voice of the serpent ; but let her abide steadfast 
by the command of God, ' Eat not of the tree.' And 
yet the tree was not the error, but the disobedience of 
her error arose by means of the tree. Let no one eat 
of the error which has arisen by means of holy Mary ; 
for though the tree be beautiful, yet it is not given 
for food ; and though Mary be most beautiful, and holy, 
and honoured, yet she is not intended to be worshipped. 
Let Eve, our mother, be honoured, as having been 
formed by God ; but let her not be listened to, lest 
she persuade her children to eat of the tree, and trans- 
gress the commandment. And how many more things 
might be said ? for these silly women offer to her the 
cake, as either worshipping Mary herself, or they take 
upon themselves to offer this rotten fruit in her behalf ! 
The whole thing is foolish and strange, and is a device 
and deceit of the devil. But, not to extend my dis- 
course further, what I have already said will suffice, 
Let Mary be in honour. Let the Lord be worshipped."* 

* P. 1064. 


It seemed necessary to make these, otherwise long 
extracts, for the purpose of ascertaining the real mean- 
ing of Epiphanius : mere insulated quotations often 
give a very unfair view of the writer's sentiments. And 
probably few will conceive it possible that any honest 
man, who maintained the present doctrines of the 
Church of Rome, or knew those to be the doctrines 
held and taught by his contemporaries through the 
Christian world, could have written the sentiments 
above quoted. It is not the case of merely negative 
testimony ; it is not the absence only of any intimation 
of the writer's belief in the lawfulness and duty of seek- 
ing the Virgin's protection by invoking her aid, or of 
his knowledge of the prevalence of such invocation 
among the faithful around him. It is the case of a 
Christian bishop reprobating a practice (which he calls 
foolish, and the device of Satan, and which had then 
lately sprung up in some distant portion of Christen- 
dom,) of worshipping the Virgin ; and this he does 
without making any exception of invoking her aid or 
asking her to intercede. He does not remonstrate with 
these innovators for not adhering to any established 
mode of addressing her; for not being content with 
that worship of her which they found already prevalent. 
And yet this surely he would have done, had any such 
mode of worship then prevailed in the Catholic Church. 
He speaks peremptorily and universally, without any 
reserve or exception; and repeats the same naked com- 
mand again and again, " Let no one worship Mary." 

It has been said by writers of the Church of Rome, 
that Epiphanius does not reprove his misguided con- 
temporaries for offering prayers to the Virgin, but for 
offering her cakes as a sort of sacrifice; and, consequent- 
ly, that his reproof does not reach the point at issue, 


unless the Roman Church can be shewn to offer the 
sacrifice of the Mass in honour of Mary. But surely 
this is no answer. It is impossible to conceive, that, 
had Epiphanius been aware that prayers were daily 
offered to the Virgin, and the mercy of God sought 
through her intercession, in the Christian churches, 
he would, in so unqualified a manner, have denounced 
all worship of the Virgin. He says not only, "Do not 
offer sacrifice to Mary," but " Let no man worship 
Mary ; let God be worshipped." The ' offering of a 
sacrifice was one part of religious worship, but so is 
the offering of prayer and praise equally a part ; and 
Epiphanius, taking occasion from the one part more 
immediately brought under his notice, condemns all 
the worship of Mary equally, without any limitation 
or exception. This is in itself evident ; but the case 
becomes still more clear, and the argument is further 
confirmed, by a brief reflection upon the words used 
by Epiphanius. 

The verbs used by him in these passages, " Let no 
one worship Mary." "Let the Lord be worshipped," 
are precisely the same with those which St. John 
employs in the Revelation, when describing a worship 
in which sacrifice could have no part. "I fell down to 
worship before the feet of the angel. And he saith 
unto me, ' See thou do it not. Worship God.' "* And 
it is a very curious circumstance, that whilst Epipha- 
nius himself, in this genuine; work, isays, " Let no one 
worship Mary," and " The angels do not receive this 
honour," the writer of the spurious work ascribed to 
him, to which we have already adverted, uses the self- 
same Greek word when he represents the angels as 

* Tr)v ^lapiafi jU))Sti£ irpotrKWEiTw, 'O Riptos i:pooKvvtiaSu>. 
"Evecroy TrpoaKVPrjaai. T^ 9fj) TporrKvytjaoi', 


WORSHIPPING Mary.* The fact is, that, had EpiphaniuS 
sought for the niost general and comprehensive word 
for the express purpose of excluding the Virgin Mary 
from any kind of religious worship whatever, — the 
falling down before her, praying to her, invoking her 
succour, singing hymns to her or in honour of her, — 
he could not probably have selected any word more 
comprehensive than the word he has chosen. 

But Epiphanius says, " Let Mary be had in ho- 
nour." To which every true son of the Church of 
England will respond Amen. We discard, as fully 
as Epiphanius could do, all unworthy or disparaging 
sentiments of the Holy Virgin-Mother of our Lord. 
But, in repudiating those who speak irreverently of 
her, we are careful (as Epiphanius bids us to be) 
not to be driven to the opposite extreme, nor to 
honour her above the measure due to her. We honour 
her memory as we honour all the holy saints of God. 
Epiphanius bids us honour Mary ; but so he bids us 
honour Eve, the mother of us all (using the self-same 
word ri[/jU(Td&i). We honour Mary, but we cannot 
worship her. 

It is too obvious to require more than a few words, 
and yet it is not superfluous to observe, that the senti- 
ments expressed in these dissertations of Epiphanius 
prove that he entertained very different notions from 
those which are professed by members of the Church 
of Rome now, and countenanced by the Roman 

* It is worthy of remark, that this same word, to the very letter, 
is used by the author of the spurious work (to which our atten- 
tion will hereafter be directed) ascribed to Ephraim Syrus, when 
the writer addresses the Virgin herself in the language of adoration, 

" We bless thee, Bride of God, and with fear we worship thee" 

■!rpo<TKvi'ov^tty. Vol. iii. p. 543, — prayers strangely cited, in the pre- 
ent day, in justification of the worship in the Church of Rome. 


Ritual, on various points besides the Invocation of 

Epiphanius could not have held the immaculate con- 
ception of the Virgin in her mother's vt'omb ; or he 
would not have assured us, as he does repeatedly, that 
though her birth was promised to her father, yet was 
it in the ordinary course of nature, "not born in any 
way differently from the nature of men." 

Epiphanius could have known nothing of the as- 
sumption of the Virgin, now the chief and crown of 
her festivals in the Church of Rome ; or he would not 
have told us, that, because the Scripture is silent on 
the subject of her death, he would not dare to express 
his opinion, whether she fell asleep by a natural death, 
or suffered martyrdom, or was allowed to remain on 
earth. * 

Of her merits, as influencing our spiritual condition ; 
of her intercession ; of her present interest with God, 
as our advocate ; of any prayers, even for her aid and 
prayers, being offered by the Church, or by the faith- 
ful in private ; of all this Epiphanius says not one word. 
His evidence is all, from first to last, clearly, pointedly, 
and irrefutably against the invocation of the Virgin 
Mary. Epiphanius testifies that the present worship 
of the blessed Virgin in the Church of Rome had 
neither place nor name among primitive Christian wor- 

* P. 1043. 





Our attention is now especially called to the evi- 
dence of four contemporaries, who, although not per- 
haps personally known each to every one of the other 
three, yet were united together, some indeed by the 
ties of blood or of friendship, and all by the bond of 
one faith, and one hope, and one charity. Basil was 
the brother of Gregory of Nyssa, the companion and 
friend of Gregory of Nazianzum, and the spiritual 
father in Christ by the imposition of whose hands 
Ephraim is said to have received the holy order of 
the Christian ministry. The testimony of each of 
these must be examined separately; and though we 
cannot regard them all as of equal magnitude or 
brightness, yet will each star of this constellation be 
found to shed much valuable light on our path, whilst 
the combined light of them all united seems to bring 
the object of our discovery clearly and distinctly 
before our mind, and to leave no room at all for 
doubt as to the state of religious worship, so far as our 
present inquiry is concerned, at the close of the fourth 
century. Up to that time, at all events, the invoca- 

BASIL. 203 

tion of the Virgin Mary had no place among the 
faithful followers of the Cross. 


This Christian father and bishop, who acquired the 
name of the Great, in contradistinction to the multi- 
tude of bishops and pastors of the same name who 
succeeded him, is often appealed to under the ho- 
noured title of the Great Teacher of Truth. All 
Christians, whether in the earliest ages from his own 
time, or in more modern days, have agreed to do his 
memory honour ; and editors of his works express 
their assurance that he would take no umbrage at 
their reflections on his errors, so great was his love 
of truth. Basil was born at Neocgesarea, probably 
about the year 328, though some have placed his 
birth ten or twelve years earlier. He was ordained 
deacon and priest at Csesarea ; but, in consequence of 
an unhappy misunderstanding between him and the 
bishop of that city, he withdrew, about a.d. 358, into 
the deserts of Pontus, and there spent his time chiefly 
in religious solitude, which, however, was relieved by 
the sweet and friendly converse of Gregory of Nazian- 
zum. Happily, Basil and the Bishop of Csesarea were 
reconciled ; and about the year 370, he succeeded, on 
the death of that bishop, to the see of Csesarea. He 
was suffered to feed the flock of Christ there as their 
chief shepherd for about eight or nine years, and then 
he died in peace. 

The great number of Christian writers of very infe- 
rior note, but of the same name, — not less than forty, 
probably more, — diminishes our surprise on finding so 
many confessedly spurious works ascribed to him. 


The Benedictine editor, M. Julian Gamier,* to whose 
labours we are deeply indebted, has done much to- 
wards the entire separation of the supposititious from 
the genuine works of Basil ; we have much reason to 
be satisfied with the results of his integrity, industry, 
and skill. 

Although the negative evidence of Basil against the 
existence in the Church of Christ, in his time, of any- 
thing approaching the religious worship of the Virgin, 
is interwoven with all his remains, of whatever kind, 
not more than two or three passages seem to call for 
any especial examination. Basil, with all true and or- 
thodox Christians, believed (to use the words of the 
Church of England) that " the Son, the Word of the 
Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the 
very and eternal God of one substance with the Fa- 
ther, took man's nature in the womb of the blessed 
Virgin of her substance :" that " he was born of a pure 
Virgin." And thus, in his Comments on the re- 
cord of the Creation,! in refutation of those who main- 
tained the impossibility of a Virgin being a mother, he 
affirms that God had, by his marvellous acts in the 
works of creation, provided by the operations of nature 
unnumbered preparations for the reception of the mys- 
teries of the Gospel among mankind. The accuracy, 
or the inaccuracy, of Basil on subjects of natural his- 
tory does not affect our inquiry. In this passage he 
maintains, that, in the economy of grace, the incarna- 
tion of the Son of God was effected through Mary, 
a virgin : but he says no more of her. 

But whilst Basil seems not to have left one single 
expression which would imply either that he himself 

* Paris, 17:21; and Paris, 1839. 

t Hexaemeron, Horn. viii. s. 6. (vol. i. p. 76.) Ed. I8S9, p. 107. 

BASIL. 205 

entertained toA^ards the Virgin Mary's name any other 
respect and veneration than we do, as she was a chosen 
vessel, called (as others of our fellow-mortals were, 
though in different offices and vocations,) to fulfil God's 
will in his dispensation of mercy by becoming the 
mother of our Lord ; or that he knew of any Christians 
who invoked her name, or sought by prayer her medi- 
ation or intercession with our heavenly Father; the 
evidence of Basil on this subject is not merely negative. 
There are passages which bear positive testimony to 
the fact, that Basil did not entertain towards the Vir- 
gin any such sentiments as are now professed by 
members of the Roman Church ; that he offered her 
no worship— let it be called dulia, or hyperdulia ; that he 
regarded her as one whose faith was tried and was 
shaken, and who needed the renewal of the Holy 
Spirit after that her stedfast trust in God's promises 
had for a while been interrupted ; in a word, that he 
neither regarded her as an intercessor or mediator, nor 
believed in her assumption, nor placed any hope in 
her good offices in heaven to be secured by prayer on 
the part of man, addressed either to herself or to God. 
The following passage from his letter to Optimus 
the Bishop leaves no doubt as to the sentiments of 
Basil. Optimus had laid before Basil some of the dif- 
ficulties which he felt in the interpretation of Holy 
Scripture. Among other questions, he requested his 
assistance towards the right understanding of the 
address made by Simeon to Mary on the Presentation 
of Christ in the Temple.""' Basil complies with his re- 
quest,! and recommends him to interpret the words 
" And he shall be for a sign that shall be spoken 

* Luke, ii. 35. 

+ Vol. iii. Epist. 260, p. 400. Ed. 1839, vol. iii. p. 579. 


against," as prophetic of those lamentable disputes which 
had arisen concerning the incarnation of Christ; some 
maintaining " that he had an earthly body, others that 
it was a heavenly body ; some that it pre-existed from 
all eternity, others that it had its origin from Mary." 
And then, in explanation of the expression " A sword 
shall pierce through thine own soul also, that the 
thoughts of many hearts may be revealed," he thus 
proceeds : 

" The sword is the word that trieth, that judgeth 
the thoughts, and separateth to the dividing asunder 
of the soul and spirit, the joints and marrow.* As, 
therefore, every soul was subjected to some doubt at 
the time of the Passion, (according to the voice of the 
Lord, who said, ' All shall be oflfended because of me,') 
Simeon prophesied concerning Mary also herself, 
that standing by the cross, and seeing what was being 
done, and hearing those words, notwithstanding the 
testimony of Gabriel, notwithstanding the [thy] inef- 
fable knowledge of the divine conception, notwith- 
standing the great display of miracles ; yet, after all, 
saith he, there shall arise a certain wavering, even in 
thy own soul. For it behoved the Lord to taste 
death for every man, and, by making a propitiation for 
the world, to save all men by his blood. Consequently, 
even thee thyself also, who hast been instructed from 
above in the things of the Lord, some doubt shall affect. 
This is the sword." Basil then proceeds to explain the 
remaining clause in Simeon's address to Mary, thus : 

" ' That the thoughts of many hearts might be re- 
vealed.' He intimates, that after the offence taken at 
the cross of Christ, both by the disciples and Mary, 
some remedy should speedily come from the Lord, 

* Heb. iv. 12. 

BASIL. 207 

confirming their hearts in their faith on Him. Thus 
we know that Peter, after having been offended, held 
the faith of Christ more stedfastly. The weakness and 
frailty of human nature were proved, in order that the 
power of God might be shewn." 

Now, without adopting, or rejecting, Basil's interpre- 
tation of Simeon's address to the Virgin Mary, it is 
impossible to believe that one who entertained these 
sentiments could at the same time have held the doc- 
trines concerning the Virgin Mary which the Church 
of Rome teaches her members to hold. We cannot 
wonder at the expression which the Benedictine editor 
uses, both in a marginal note and in the index, "This 
of Basil is not quite a fair opinion concerning the holy 
Mother of God." " Basil, not very decorously [minus 
belle] thinks that Mary herself wavered at the time 
of the Passion." In a note, also, the same editor ex- 
presses his persuasion that he shall not give Basil 
offence, if he says, that in this point he had departed 
from the Gospel history, and from the true interpreta- 
tion of Simeon's words. He considers Basil to have 
drawn his view from Origen, and tells us that others 
had followed him in adopting the same interpretation. 
Whence Basil derived his view, or how far his is 
the true interpretation of the passage, has nothing 
to do with the object of our present inquiry. Basil 
is here proved to have held sentiments altogether 
incompatible with the present belief and practice of 
the Roman Church concerning the Virgin Mary. 

The volumes which contain the genuine productions 
of Basil (like the works of almost every ancient writer) 
remind us of the recklessness with which the errors of 
subsequent ages were ascribed to those primitive teach- 
ers of our holy faith. Thus, in a supposititious letter. 


said to have been addressed by Basil to Julian the 
Apostate,* the following sentiments occur : " I acknow- 
ledge the incarnation of the Son, and that the holy 
Mary, who bare him in the flesh, is the mother of God: f 
and I receive the holy Apostles, Prophets, and Martyrs, 
and call upon them for their supplication to God, — I 
mean, by their mediation, — that the merciful God would 
have pity upon me, and that I might have redemption 
and remission of my offences. Whence also I honour 
and worship their pictures and representations, espe- 
cially since these were delivered down to us from 
the Apostles, and are not forbidden, but are recorded 
in all our churches." These are sentiments as much 
opposed to the genuine remains of Basil, as they are 
to the sentiments of the Church of England now. By 
such forgeries the authority of the early Fathers has 
been too long surreptitiously made to countenance the 
errors of faith and worship which crept into the Church 
long after those holy men had fallen asleep in Christ. 
By no labours, perhaps, can the learning and ability 
of the lovers of truth, and the faithful sons of the 
Church of Christ, promote the cause of primitive 
worship more effectually, than by clearing the field 
of Christian antiquity of those spurious and noxious 
weeds which the enemy of truth has from age to age 
sown so artfully, choking in many cases the genuine 
and gpod seed, in others mingling subtle poison with 
the wholesome fruits of God's truth. Much has been 
done already, but we shall be more and more con- 

* Epist. 360. See Vit. Bas. c. viii. 

t To the spurious homily " Upon the holy generation of Christ," in 
which its author dwells on the perpetual virginity of Mary, we need 
not advert. The Benedictine editors themselves place it in the Appen- 
dix, as in their judgment spurious. 

BASIL. 209 

vinced, as our inquiry proceeds, that much remains to 
be done. 

Before we leave this venerable and holy teacher of 
Christ's school, the author would recall some few of 
Basil's genuine sentiments on the efficacy and comfort 
of prayer, the duty and the blessing of habitually stu- 
dying tbe Holy Scriptures, and tiie consolations admi- 
nistered by genuine Christianity to those who are in 
sorrow and affliction. The passages bear, though in- 
directly and remotely, yet convincingly, on the imme- 
diate subject of our inquiry: the absence throughout 
of all allusion to the Virgin Mary, whose protection 
at the awful hour of death and from the face of their 
enemy the Roman Church now bids her children to 
supplicate, is most striking and satisfactory. 

It is refresMwg to teai: tlua b-oly \nan \ft bis ireiivft- 
ment speaking (like a voice from the wilderness) of 
the inestimable value of Holy Scripture as the guide 
of our life, supplying us with rules of conduct, re- 
cording the lives of good men as living models for a 
child of God, and proposing their bright example for 
our imitation. No less delightful is it to hear him 
speak of prayer. Prayer, he says, should ever attend 
our study of Holy Scripture : our mind is more vi- 
gorous then, more renovated with the strength of 
youth, and is under a stronger influence of the love 
of God. The best prayer he considers to be that 
which brings the idea of God more vividly before the 
mind : to have God present ever in our minds and 
our hearts, he says, realizes tVie indwelling of God in 
us. Thus we become a temple of God when the tenor 
of our thoughts and our remembrance of him is not 
cut asunder by earthly cares, nor the mind disturbed 
by passions assailing us unawares. Flying from all 



these, the man who loves God withdraws himself to 
God, banishing all evil desires which would tempt 
him to what is unholy, and persevering in those pur- 
suits which lead to excellence.* 

His letter of condolence to Nectarius,f on the 
death of that friend's only son, is most beautiful in 
itself, and opens to us the views of Basil as to the foun- 
tain and living spring of all consolation to a Christian. 
Having expressed his own deep affliction caused by the 
melancholy loss which his friend has sustained, he recals 
Nectarius to a consideration of the tenure of human 
life, and the many instances which they had known of 
similar calamities. He then adds, "Above all, it is 
God's command that we sorrow not for those who have 
fallen asleep, because of the hope of the resurrection. 
Moreover, with the great Judge of our struggles crowns 
of great glory are reserved as the rewards of great pa- 
tience. Wherefore I call on you, as a generous com- 
batant, not to sink beneath the weight of your sorrow, 
nor suffer your soul to be swallowed up by it ; persuaded 
of this, that though the reasons of God's dispensations 
are hidden from us, yet whatever is apportioned to us by 
Him, who is wise and who loveth us, should be borne, 
however painful it may be. For he knows how to 
assign what is for the real good of each, and why 
he appoints to different persons unequal periods of 
life. 'Though not comprehended by man, there is a 
cause why some are taken away sooner hence, whilst 
others are left to linger on in this life of pain. So 
that in all things we should adore his loving-kindness, 
and not repining, [or taking anything ill which comes 
from him,] remember the famous exclamation which 

* Epist. ii. vol. iii. pp. 72 and 73 ; Ed. 1839, vol. iii. p. 99. 
f Epist. V. p. 77 ; Ed. 1839, p. 108. 

BASIL. 211 

that great combatant Job uttered when he saw his 
ten children round one table in one moment de- 
stroyed : ' The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken 
away. As it pleased the Lord, so it was.' Let us 
make that admirable sentiment our own. By the just 
Judge an equal reward is reserved for those who ac- 
quit themselves equally. We have not been deprived 
of our boy ; we have only returned him to the Lender. 
His life is not extinct, but is changed for the better. 
The earth does not cover our beloved one, but 
heaven hath received him. Wait we only a little 
while, and we shall again be with him whose loss \fe 
feel. The time of our separation will not be long. In 
this life we are all hastening on the road to the 
same inn ; in which one is already lodged, another is 
coming in after him, a third hastening : one end will 
receive us all. He has finished his journey first ; but 
we are all on the same journey, and the same inn 
awaits us all. Only may we resemble him in purity, 
that we may obtain the same rest with the children of 

At the close of the next, which is also a consola- 
tory letter, he says, "In these cases argument is not 
enough for consolation. We have need also of prayer. 
I pray the Lord himself that He, touching your heart 
by his ineffable power, will by good thoughts enkindle 
light in your soul, that you may have the well-spring 
of comfort in your own home." * 

* P. 79 ; Ed. 1839, p. 112. 

!■ 2 



Gregory, called Theologus from his profound erudi- 
tion in divine knowledge, and of Nazianzum from the 
city in Cappadocia of that name, was the friend of 
Basil, and catechist and tutor of Jerome.f He was 
trained, we are told, in the most celebrated schools 
of rhetoric, as well in other cities as at Athens. For 
some years he superintended the church of Nazianzum 
as the coadjutor or suffragan of his father, who was 
at that time by age and infirmities disabled from dis- 
charging the episcopal functions. He was afterwards 
called to preside over the metropolitan church of Con- 
stantinople, from which he retired by a voluntary re- 
signation of the burdens and honours of that see ; and, 
having passed the ten remaining years of his life in 
retirement, he died about the year 391, at the age of 
probably not less than ninety-one years. 

This celebrated writer of Christian antiquity is re- 
ferred to by the Roman Catholic commentator on the 
proceedings of the Council of Trent | as one of those 
who, " by addressing saints in public harangues," laid 
the foundation of the modern practice of praying to 
them ; though such addresses ought to be regarded as 
figure^ of rhetoric rather than invocations." Grego- 
ry's works contain many panegyrics delivered on the 
anniversaries or at the tombs of celebrated Christians, 
(some of them his contemporaries,) in which at the 
close of his coUaudation of their virtues he apostro- 

* Paris, vol. i. 1778 ; vol. ii. 1840. 
t See Fabricius, vol. ix. p. 383. 

X Histoire du Cone, de Trent, par Paoli Sarpi, traduit par Pierre 
Fran9ois de Courayer, Amsterdam, 1751. 


phizes the martyr, apologizing for his own defects, 
begging him to accept his exertions, however un- 
worthy of the merits he had been celebrating, and to 
look favourably on the company who were assembled 
in his honour. But, in the same harangues, we find 
him apostrophizing things which never had ears to 
hear, or a mind to understand : " Such are thy narra- 
tions and wonders, O Egypt," &c.* It is difficult to 
believe that any one who was seeking, not what 
might by ingenuity be forced to countenance a system, 
but what is real bona-fidfe evidence of the faith and 
practice of enlightened Christians in the first ages of the 
Church, would acquiesce with any satisfaction in such 
apostrophes. If weighed in the balance of truth, they 
seem to have much the same force in the way of proof 
that the orator invoked the saint in an act of religious 
worship, which the words of Tacitus have, when he is 
apostrophizing Agrippa, that he sought the aid of the 
departed. There is, indeed, this great difference, that 
Gregory entertained no doubts as to the immortality of 
the soul; whereas the words of the Roman historian im- 
ply, that with him the existence of a future state was 
still an unsettled question. In more modern instances 
of similar apostrophes by men, who, like Gregory, fully 
believed in the continued existence of the soul of 
their departed friend, we yet find, even in the address 
itself, an acknowledgment of their misgiving, and the 
uncertainty of their belief as to the power of the de- 
parted to hear them. Such, for example, is the prayer 
made by Frederic III., King of Prussia, in his col- 
laudation of Prince Henry, his son. And, after doubts 
of this sort once expressed, few probably would in such 
qualified apostrophes, however frequent, or though 
* Vol. i. p. 621. 


made without a similar reservation, see any proof of 
the belief or practice of the heathen biographer, or of 
a Christian king. But precisely the same expression 
of uncertainty, and doubt, and misgiving occurs, and 
that not once only, in these addresses of Gregory of 
Nazianzum. It may be well to put the instances we 
have mentioned side by side with Gregory's. There 
is a most remarkable correspondence in many of the 
circumstances of the three cases ; Tacitus addresses 
his wife's father as a beloved parent; Frederic ad- 
dresses his own son ; Gregory his own sister. 

Tacitus. Frederic. Gregory. 
Thou, happy Agricola ! Prince ! you who know Mayest thou enjoy all 
if there be a place for the how dear you were to these, of which when on 
spirits of the pious ; if, me, — how precious was earth thou receivedst a 
as philosophers think, your person to me, — if few droppings from thy 
great souls perish not the voice of the living can genuine disposition to- 
with their hodies ; rest make itself heard hy the wards them. But if thou 
thou in peace ; and call dead, listen to a voice canst take any interest in 
thou us thy family from which was not unknown our affairs, and this boon 
weak repinings and fe- to you : suffer this frail be grunted by God to 
minine wailings to a monument, the only one, pious souls — to have a 
contemplation of thy vir- alas ! that I can erect to sense of such things, re- 
tues, and rather with yourmemory,tobe raised ceive our address, in- 
temporal praises to you.* stead of many, and in 

let us honour thee.* preference to many, fu- 
neral obsequies.f 

* See Taciti Op., Brotier, vol. iv. p. 131. 

•f- Vol. i. p. 232. — The whole of this passage deserves a place here. 
It is fult of Christian faith and love. The reader will observe, that 
in Gregory's reference to the joys of heaven, which he believed that 
his sister already possessed, though he mentions the glory of angels 
and of others, and of God, there is no allusion to the Virgin Mary. 

" Better, I well know, and far more to be prized, are the things 
which thou hast now, than what are seen here ; — the sound of those 
who keep holiday [eopraidvTwi', Ps. xli. 5], the choir of angels, the 
vision both of other beings, and also of the Trinity most high, the more 
pure and perfect illumination of the glory no longer withdrawing itself 


But another very remarkable instance of the same 
doubt and uncertainty, not as to the happiness of true 
Christians in anotlier world, but as to their power to 
hear the addresses made to them by any here below, 
occurs in Gregory's First Invective against Julian.* 
Having called upon all on earth to hear him, he adds, 
" Hear, O heaven, and give ear, O earth . . . And do 
thou hear, soul of the great Constantius, if there be 
ANY PERCEPTION, and all ye souls of the kings before 
him who loved Christ." And the note in the Bene- 
dictine edition thus interprets and illustrates these 
words of Gregory : " If the dead are sensible of 
anything. Thus Isocrates,f in the same words, but 
somewhat more fully : ' If there is any perception of 
what is going on here.' " 

"We do not see how, after the expression of these 
doubts, any sound argument can be based upon such 
addresses to the souls of the departed made by Gre- 

To confine ourselves more particularly to the imme- 
diate subject of our present inquiry, we do not find any 
testimony borne by Gregory to the invocation of the 
Virgin ; on the contrary, he is a clear and strong wit- 
ness against it. But here a painful duty is forced 
upon any one who would make a sacrifice of every 
thing rather than of the truth, — Gregory of Nazianzum 
is boldly and confidently cited as one who himself 

from a mind in bondage and dissipated by the passions, but entirely 
contemplated and held by the whole mind, and shining upon our souls 
with the whole light of the Godhead^ — all these mayest thou en- 
joy," &c. 

* Vol. i. p. 78, 

t Funeral oration over Evagoras ; a similar doubt is expressed in 
his JE^netkus, as to the power of Thrasyllus to be sensibie of what 
takes place about his children. Bekker, Oxon. pp. 254 and 563. 


prayed directly and unequivocally to the Virgin Mary. 
The appeal is thus made to his authority.* 

" But I must not omit another passage of the same 
father," (St. Gregory " the Theologian,") " neither will I 
venture to abridge it. It is the conclusion of his dra- 
matic composition, entitled ' Christ Suffering.'' What- 
ever may be put to the account of poetical feeling and 
expression, enough will remain to satisfy us of his be- 
lief. But, after all, there is poetry in all sincere prayer ; 
every ofliice of Catholic devotion, public or private, is 
essentially poetical : and if it was lawful for St. Gregory 
to address the Blessed Virgin as follows, under any 
circumstances, it cannot be idolatrous in us. ' More- 
over, kindly admit thy Mother, O Word ! as an inter- 
cessor, and those to whom Thou hast granted the grace 
to loose. August, venerable, all-blessed Virgin ! thou 
inhabitest the heavenly mansions of the blessed, freed 
from the incumbrance of mortality, clad in the gar- 
ment of incorruption, known ever immortal as a Deity. 
Be kind from above to my addresses. Yea, yea, most 
glorious maiden, receive my words ; for this distinc- 
tion belongs to thee alone of mortals, as the mother of 
the Word, although beyond comprehension ! On which 
relying, I address thee, and, to adorn thee, bear a garland 
woven from the purest meads, O Lady ; for that many 
favours thou vouchsafing hast ever freed me from 
various, calamities of enemies visible, but more invi- 
sible. When I shall reach the end of my life, as I 
have intreated, may I ever have thee as protector of 
the riches of my entire life, and as a most acceptable 
intercessor with thy Son, together with his well-pleas- 
ing servants. Allow me not to be delivered up to 

* Remarks on a Letter from the Rev. W. Palmer, by N. Wiseman, 
D U., Bishop of Mehpotamus. London, 1841, p. 28. 


torments, and to be the sport of tlie cruel despoiler of 
men. Stand by me, and save me from the fire and 
darkness by the faith which justifieth me, and by thy 
favour ; for in thee was seen the grace of God to us. 
Therefore I weave for thee a grateful hymn, Virgin 
Mother ! fair and supreme above all other virgins, sub- 
lime above all heavenly orders of beings ! Mistress ! 
Queen of all things ! Delight of our race ! be thou ever 
kind to it, and to me in every place salvation.' Here, 
(observes Dr. Wiseman) is the blessed Virgin directly 
prayed to, considered a protector, a defender against 
enemies. In short, in this one address St. Gregory 
sums up all that is contained in the passage considered 
by Mr. Palmer so objectionable in the mouths of mo- 
dern Catholics." 

To this alleged testimony of tke gtea,t Theologian, 
only one answer can be given ; but of the certainty 
of that answer we can entertain no question. Gre- 
gory of Nazianzum, we believe, never wrote any of 
those words : the tragedy, written after the manner 
of Euripides, was not written by Gregory, nor in 
his age.* The only difficulty in the case is, how to 
account for such a citation being made without any 
allusion to the authorities by which it is pronounced 
not to be Gregory's. Had members of any other 
Church alone, or recently, rejected that work, however 
strong and sound their reasons might have seemed 
to us, we should not have been surprised at our Roman 
Catholic contemporaries still quoting an authority to 

* The composition itself is a tragedy, after the manner of Euripides, 
called "Christ Suffering." The dramatis personee are Christ, his 
Mother, Joseph, a theologian, the Magdalene, Nicodemus, a mes- 
senger, Pilate, a congregation of priests, choir of virgins, semichorus, 
a young man, a guard. 


which they had been accustomed to appeal ; but here 
we need quote no other evidence than the united tes- 
timonies of the large majority of Roman Catholic 
critics, to prove that a passage has been cited as ge- 
nuine, which is beyond all question spurious. We need 
only to refer to the words of the Roman Catholic 
editor of the second volume of Gregory's works, pub- 
lished in Paris, in the year 1840, on the principles of 
the Benedictine editors. His arguments will be found 
in the Appendix. 

Another passage has been frequently quoted in 
proof that Gregory of Nazianzum recognized prayer 
to the Virgin as an established and common practice 
in the century before his time. The passage occurs 
in an oration said to have been delivered by this Gre- 
gory in collaudation of Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage. 
The reasons which compel us to regard this oration as 
altogether spurious, and the production of a writer far 
Gregory's inferior in knowledge, will be also found in 
the Appendix. But if, for argument's sake, the ora- 
tion were received as genuine, the evidence amounts 
to very little. It is, however, most highly valued by 
the defenders of the worship of the Virgin; and, with 
the view of retaining it among Gregory's works, consi- 
derable pains have been taken to reconcile the confu- 
sion and inconsistencies which abound in it throughout. 
Indeed', the Benedictine editors confess, (whilst they 
extol its importance, and tenaciously retain it,) " that 
nowhere in the fourth century is the protection and 
the assistance of the blessed Virgin Mary so clearly 
and so explicitly commended as in this oration."* 
But, whoever was the author of this speech, the story 
which he details is this : That a young lady of great 

* Vol. i. p. 437. 


beauty was in imminent danger in consequence of 
the violent emotions which her charms had ex- 
cited in Cyprian, who, to bring her into his toils 
and secure her to himself, had recourse to the arts 
of magic, in which he was versed, and to the assist- 
ance of one of those evil spirits whom magicians 
bribed by acts of homage. " Justina" (to use the ora- 
tor's own words) " discarding all others, flies for 
REFUGE TO GoD, who had protected Susanna and 
Thecla, takes her own bridegroom for her champion 
against hateful lust. And who was this ? — Christ, 
who rebukes the winds and supports the sinking, and 
consigns a legion of devils to the deep, and rescues from 
the den the just man exposed as food for lions, and by 
the outstretching of his arms conquers the wild beasts, 
and rescues the fugitive prophet swallowed up by the 
whale, even in its belly preserving his faith, and saves 
the Assyrian youths in the fire, quenching the flame 
by his angel, and adding a fourth to the three. Me- 
ditating on these and more instances than these (and 


peril), she throws before her the charm of fasting and 
mortification, at the same time marring her beauty as 
treacherous, that she might withdraw the fuel of the 
flame and expend the heat of passion, and also making 
God propitious bj her faith and her humility ; for God 
is served by nothing so much as by afl3iction; and 
loving-kindness is given in return for tears." 

If this statement came from Gregory of Nazianzum 
in its present form, it shews, that he reported without 
a word of approbation or of dissatisfaction the circum- 
stance of a virgin in peril having, a century before, 
called upon the Virgin Mary to protect her from the 
wanton attacks of one who was then a child of Satan, 


exercising for her ruin his arts as a magician, but 
whom she converted to Christianity, and who after- 
wards became Bishop of Carthage. The sentence is 
parenthetical, and no reference is made to the Virgin 
Mary's help in what precedes or follows it : on the 
contrary, the orator expressly states, that Justina, 
forsaking all other aid, betook herself only to God. 
Still, if the oration is genuine, this parenthesis must 
be allowed to carry that degree of evidence as to the 
practice of the preceding century which each indivi- 
dual may consider it legitimately to bear. The objec- 
tions, however, to its being regarded as the genuine pro- 
duction of Gregory the Theologist, seem to us insur- 
mountable. But here a question naturally forces itself 
upon the mind. If there is so much uncertainty as to 
the authenticity and genuineness of this oration, will 
not the undisputed works of Gregory enable us to 
infer what were his own sentiments as to the invoca- 
tion of the Virgin Mary ? Will not his compositions, 
either in prose or in verse, inform us whether he ad- 
dressed the Virgin in prayer himself, or was aware 
that the Christian Church, as a body and in its mem- 
bers, so addressed her? And may we not satisfy 
ourselves as to his own real opinion on the immediate 
subject of our inquiry? 

Undoubtedly Gregory has left quite enough upon 
record in his own undisputed works to enable any one 
to answer these questions for himself. The result of 
a diligent inquiry is, that there is no intimation what- 
ever that Gregory looked for any help or aid to the 
Virgin Mary, or ever invoked her himself; nor does 
he ever allude to her worship by others his contempo- 
raries as a practice with which he was acquainted. 

But the nature and circumstances of Gregory's 


works take his testimony out of tlie common class of 
negative evidence, and invest it with a force of no 
ordinary cogency. The course of his arguments often 
led him to speak of the union in Christ of the divine 
and human nature, and consequently of the birth of 
Christ. On all these occasions he speaks of the Virgin 
Mary as a being of untainted purity in body and mind, 
using often expressions which, though not in them- 
selves and of necessity implying anything contrary 
to sound doctrine, yet are liable to misinterpretation, 
and which, perhaps, made the descent to error in a sub- 
sequent age more easy,* but none of which imj)ly any 
trust in her mediation, or any invocation of her aid. 

Gregory, moreover, has left behind him a large num- 
ber of poems on religious and moral subjects, of un- 
equal merit as compositions, still breathing throughout 
the spirit of an enlightened, pious, and holy Christian. 
Among these are, at least, thirty hymns of prayer 
and thanksgiving. Yet, among these it is in vain to 
search for any invocation to the Virgin, or any ad- 
dress to her, or any recognition of her influence as 
intercessor, or any power given to her as the dispenser 
of blessings or mercies. In the variety of his petitions 
he seems to ask for all things needful both for the 
soul and body. It is interesting and edifying to com- 
pare these prayers, not only with the less solemnly 
authorized hymns of prayer and praise offered to 
the Virgin in Roman Catholic churches, but even 
with the authorized prayers of the Liturgy of Rome. 
Gregory prays for guidance in his journey, for protec- 
tion from his enemies, for a pure heart and life, for 
help and acceptance in the hour of death ; but we 
find no " Mary, mother of grace, protect i\s from our 

* See vol. i. p. 728 ; vol. i. p. 852 ; vol. ii. p. 85. 


enemies, make our life pure, prepare for us a safe 
journey, receive us in the hour of death." Every ad- 
dress is made to God his Saviour : no mention occurs 
of the Virgin's name, no allusion to her advocacy. 
God in Christ is, from first to last, the beginning and 
the end, the alpha and omega of Gregory's worship 
and invocation. There are, however, both in his prose 
and in his verse, references made to Mary, and we 
are unwilling to omit any one of them. 

In his oration on the Nativity he uses this strong 
expression : " Christ is born of a Virgin. Ye women, 
live as virgins that ye may be mothers of Christ."* 

In a short poem, speaking of his mother, he says, 
" Nonna, praying at this table, was taken away, and 
now shines, (with Susanna, Mary, and the Annas,) 
a support of women."! 

In one verse he applies to Mary an epithet which 
the translator renders "like to God,"|: but which in 
the note we are properly directed to interpret "pious." 

In another poem,| written in honour of the virgin- 
state, as an example of the offspring surpassing its 
parent in excellence, he says : 

" And Christ is indeed of Mary, but far more excellent 
Not only than Mary, and those who are clothed with flesh, 
But also than all the intellects which the spacious heaven inveils." || 

Surely these are not the addresses and the senti- 
ments of one who invoked the Virgin or sought her 
aid in supplication. 

We will only refer to one more passage. In his 

* Orat. xxxvlii. p. 664. f Vol. ii. p. 1134. Carm. Ixix. 

Vol. ii. p. 308. V. 199. § P. 336. v. 694- 

II To this passage the index refers us thus : " Mary inferior to 
Christ, superior to all others." Her inferiority is expressed in the 
text ; of her superiority Gregory says not a word. 


sermon on the Nativity he calls upon the Christian to 
honour Bethlehem and the manger ; to hasten with 
the star, and offer with the Magi, and to worship with 
the shepherds, and sing with the angels and arch- 
angels — "Let there," says the preacher, "be one 
united celebration made by the powers of heaven 
and earth ; for I am persuaded that they join in this 
festival."* Of Mary he there says nothing. 

Ephraim the Syrian is said to have been born at 
Nisibis in Mesopotamia, and (as a tradition, which is 
much questioned, states) was ordained deacon by Basil. 
It is generally believed that he was never ordained priest. 
The place of his ministry was Edessa, and his death 
probably happened between the years 375 and 380. His 
works, as they are now offered to us, are written partly 
in Greek, partly in Syriac, though many of the learned 
seriously question the fact of his having written him- 
self any work in Greek. :j; A legend, involving a mira- 
culous interposition, and which has not improperly 
been said to savour of the fabulous, records that he 
spoke only his own language till he was ordained by 
Basil, when he suddenly spoke Greek as fluently and 
as accurately as his native tongue.^ 

The great difficulty which every one must feel in 
searching for Ephraim's own sentiments on any subject 

* Orat. 38, p. 674. 

t Rome, 1732, six vols. fol. ; Oxford, Thwaites, 1709; Vossius, 
Cologne, 1G03. 

X Theodoret, 1. iv. c. 26, and Sozomen, 1. iii. c. 16, say that 
Ephraim was miacquainted with Greek. See Tillemont, 1. viii. p, 743. 
And Jerome says, that Ephraim wrote in Syriac, and that he had him- 
self read a work of Ephraim's on the Holy Spirit, translated into 
Greek. § See Pabricius, vol. viii, p, 217. 


of theological interest, is the arduous and almost hope- 
less task of separating his genuine works from those 
supposititious productions with which they are min- 
gled. Another Ephraim, called the Younger, lived 
about the middle of the sixth century ; and we are 
assured that many of the works, now ascribed to the 
elder Ephraim of Edessa, would with inore justice be 
considered as the productions of the younger Ephraim, 
if not of some yet later writer. * 

Some writers reject all those works as unauthentic 
which are found only in Greek translations ; others 
have set their stamp of authenticity on writings as- 
cribed to Ephraim, which many upright judges find 
themselves compelled to pronounce spurious. Car- 
dinal Bellarmin says he had only read some few of 
the works of Ephraim ; and declares himself unable to 
pronounce whether they were all genuine, or mingled 
with some spurious compositions.! Among those who 
would go far towards banishing the works, now publish- 
ed as Ephraim's, from the catalogue of witnesses to 
primitive Christian doctrine, are Rivet and Tentzel ;t- 
while the Roman editor, Asseman, seems bent on ad- 
mitting as genuine, with few exceptions, whatever has 
been handed down under the name of Ephraim. It 
is very disappointing to find one, who had at his com- 
mand so great a variety of valuable means for forming 
a correct judgment, suffering his zeal for the doctrines 
of the Roman Church to force upon him the office of 
advocate, and to divest him of the character of an up- 
right and impartial arbiter.^ 

* See Pabricius, vol. viii. p. 540. f Op. Eph. vol. i. p. Ivii. 

t See Tillemont, p. 746. 

§ Had the sound principles which guided Baronius and the Bene- 
dictine editor in giving their verdict on some of the v?orks of Athana- 


M. Lenaiu de Tillemont,* who (to use his own ex- 
pression) had only the translation of a translation to 
supply him with materials for forming his judgment, 
has taken a very different course from either of these 
extreme parties. His criticisms carry with them the 
marks of candour, discrimination, and research. The 
canons which he prescribes to himself compel him to 
reject many of the works which Asseman strives to re- 
store to their place among Ephraim's genuine produc- 
tions ; and, at the same time, to retain others, which 
critics both before him and after him have excluded. 
Kohl,-|- in his account of the Sclavonic version of 
Ephraim's works, is more rigid than Tillemont, but 
not so general in his denouncements as Rivet. Thus, 
whilst some of the writings which have been ascribed 
to Ephraim must be acknowledged to be spurious, and 
others are pronounced to be genuine and are unsuspect- 

sius, been allowed the same place in the minds of the two editors of 
Ephraim, — one, the editor of his -works in Greek ; the other, of his 
Syriac remains, — instead of triumphant rhapsodies on the annoyance felt 
by heretics on finding such accumulated support to the Roman system 
poured in from the East, and on the victory supposed to be gained over 
those who separated from Rome, by the testimony of this Father's 
worksj then first published ; and instead of arguments for adopting these 
works from the sentence and practice of the Church of Rome as to 
apocryphal books of Scripture, we should have had a view of the 
remains of Ephraim offered to us very different from that which this 
edition now presents. The whole work must be undertaken afresh. 
But, till a material change takes place in the policy of those who 
preside over the treasures of the Vatican, the difficulty of separat- 
ing the legitimate from the spurious in Ephraim's works will be al- 
most insurmountable. The author of the present work made an un- 
successful attempt to learn the real state and condition and circum- 
stances of the Vatican manuscripts, through the kind offices of one of 
the most learned of our English Roman Catholics ; he however at once 
represented any attempt of the kind as labour thrown away, 

* Vol. viii. p. 743, &c. t Petersburgh, 1729, p. 22.?, &c. 



ed, (except so far as a translation can never be appealed to 
witli entire satisfaction,) a third class are declared to be 
spurious by some, and are maintained by others to be 
genuine. In the midst of so much uncertainty, we 
might have been induced, under other circumstances, 
to pass on after making only a few remarks on the 
evidence of Ephraim ; or, according to the beautiful 
suggestion of Tillemont, we might have been satisfied 
with culling a few of those affecting passages out of 
the works ascribed, whether rightly or not, to Ephraim, 
which will never fail to find a response in the breast of 
every contrite Christian, from whatever pen they came. 
But when persons of high station in the Church of 
Borne boldly and confidently appeal to the evidence of 
Ephraim in proof that prayers were offered to the 
Virgin in the primitive Church, and in that appeal 
cite passages as genuine and indisputable which on the 
very face of them have no pretensions whatever to be 
regarded as Ephraim's; for us to abstain from laying 
bare such proceedings, would be to sacrifi.ce the sacred 
cause of truth to a morbid and unworthy motive. 

Dr. N. Wiseman, Roman Catholic Bishop of Melopo- 
tamus, in his lectures delivered in the chapel in Moor- 
fields in the year 1836, thus speaks (vol. ii. p. 109) : 
" Another saint of this age, St. Ephrem, is remarkable 
as the oldest Father and writer of the Oriental Church. 
His expressions are really so exceedingly strong, that I 
am sure many Catholics of the present day would feel 
a certain delicacy or diflSculty in using some of them 
in their prayers, for fear of offending persons of another 
religion; they go so much beyond those which we use." 
Having referred to two passages, — one to prove that the 
martyrs were invoked by Ephraim, a point on which 
this work is not intended to touch ; and the other, to 


shew that both Mary was invoked, and God was prayed 
to through her intercession, which cannot be found ac- 
cording to the reference (" Serm. de Laud. B. Mar. 
Virg., t. iii. p. 156,") — Dr. Wiseman proceeds: "There 
are passages, however, innumerable, in his writings 
much stronger, and I will read you one or two as spe- 
cimens of the many prayers found in his works ad- 
dressed to the blessed Virgin : ' In thee, patroness and 
mediatrix with God, who was born from thee, the human 
race, O mother of God, placeth its joy, and ever is de- 
pendent upon thy patronage, and in thee alone hath 
refuge and strength, who hast full confidence in Him. 
Behold, I also draw nigh to thee with a fervent soul, 
not having courage to approach thy Son, but imploring 
that through thy intercession {[Mffiriia;) I may obtain 
salvation. Despise not then thy servant, who placeth 
all his hopes in thee after God ; reject him not, placed in 
greatest danger and oppressed with many griefs ; but 
thou, who art compassionate and the mother of a mer- 
ciful God, have mercy upon thy servant, free me from 
fatal concupiscence,' &c. In another prayer we meet 
the following words, addressed to the same ever-glorious 
Virgin : ' After the Trinity, thou art mistress of all ; 
after the Paraclete, another paraclete ; after the Medi- 
ator, mediatrix of the whole world.' Surely this is 
more than enough to prove, that if this glory of the 
Syriac Church, this friend of the great St. Basil, had 
lived in our times, he would not have been allowed to 
officiate in the English Church, but would have been 
obliged to retire to some humble chapel, if he wished 
to discharge his sacred functions." 

This lecture Dr. Wiseman published in the year 
1836 ; and the same author, after a lapse of five years, 

Q 2 


in his Remarks on the Letter of the Rev. W. Pahner,* 
undertaking- to compare the expressions of the present 
Pope's Encyclical Letter with the language of ancient 
times, has felt himself justiiied in making this state- 
ment : " The Fathers.— S. Ephrem Syrus, the friend of 
St. Basil, and most highly extolled by contemporary 
Fathers, thus prays to the blessed Virgin: 'Entirely re- 
new me, making me a temple of the most holy, and life- 
giving, and mosi; excellent Spirit, who dwelt and over- 
shadowed thy immaculate womb, Power from on high.' 
Again f the same must be said of St. Ephrem. Page 
after page of his writings is filled with prayers to the 
mother of God, which go far beyond anything that 
Catholics are in the habit of using now-a-days. The 
few extracts that I make, chiefly with reference to Mr. 
Palmer's objections, will afford but poor specimens 
of the context of his prayers. Thus he addresses her : 
' O Virgin, Lady, Mother of God, most blessed Mother 
of God, .... incline thine ear and hear my words, sent 
forth from unclean and impure lips. For, behold, with 
a contrite soul and an humble mind I have recourse 
to thy mercy. For / have no other hope or refuge, my 
only comfort and quick defence ; ... of my withered 
heart, divine refreshment ; of my dark soul, brightest 
lamp. For in thee I hope, in thee I exult.' Again : 
' Virgin, Lady, Mother of God, .... in thee I place 
all .my hopes ; and in thee I trust, more exalted than 
all heavenly power.' — Operum, torn. iii. Gra3co-Lat., 
p. 524. " 

The Author, in writing these pages, has anxiously 
endeavoured to abstain from every expression which 
might unnecessarily give pain to any one; here, how- 
ever, he cannot but express his deep and sincere con- 

* London, 1841, p. 20. t P. 23. 


cern that any person of so high a rank in his Church, 
and of so wide a fame among his own people as a 
champion of their faith, should in aid of his argu- 
ment have thus triumphantly quoted, we do not 
say, passages the genuineness of which was disput- 
ed on one side and maintained on the other — we 
do not say, passages from works which, though once 
ascribed to a Father, have been long acknowledged 
even by members of his own Church to be spuri- 
ous ; but from works which never were ascribed to 
Ephraim in any age, which are not ascribed to him in 
any one manuscript or printed book, which were 
never even bound up with Ephraim's works before 
the Roman edition of 1732,* from which they are 
now extracted — works which that very edition itself, 
so far from representing them as the prayers of 
Ephraim, proves not to have been his. 

The facts are these : — A monk named Thecaras f 
compiled certain penitential prayers for every day in 
the week. These were headed as " Penitential prayers 
of the most holy monk Thecaras, collected from divine 
Scripture, but for the most part from holy Ephraim, 
for those who desire to contend against their own in- 
clination towards the passions and pleasures." f Such 
is the heading in the manuscript of the Coislinian Li- 
brary in Paris. In the Vatican manuscript, ^ with the 

* This edition consists of six volumes ; three containing the Greek 
works published in 1732, and three containing the Syriac ■works pub- 
lished in 1736, under the auspices of Clement XII. 

f Here it may be observed, that the only prayers of Thecaras which 
it has fallen to the author of this work to read [Venice, 1 733] seem to 
correspond much in sentiment and style with these penitential prayers, 
but differ totally in spirit, sentiment, and style from those indepen- 
dent prayers to the Virgin to which Dr. Wiseman appeals. 

-\. Ephraim's Greek works, vol. i. p. clxviii. 

§ MS. Vat. 1190, p. 1117. 


omission of the word " Penitential," the heading is 
the same, but the name of Thecaras is suppressed.* 
These are the prayers which, with this heading, were 
published in the Roman edition of Ephraim's works. 
But, when the prayers of this series are brought to a 
close, a short prayer is introduced from a printed 
work, " Horologium Grsecorum in Mesonyctico," 
which is also found in a manuscript of the Vatican 
(Vat. MS. 775, p. 18), totally different from the manu- 
script which contains the prayers of Thecaras. Then, 
after this, come the prayers from which Dr. Wiseman 
quotes, — but these have nothing whatever to do even 
with the prayers of Thecaras, much less with those of 
Ephraim; they are totally independent of either 
Ephraim or Thecaras. The Roman editor, indeed, 
of his own mere will has introduced, in Latin, the word 
"ejusdem," "of the same,'" in his general heading to the 
prayers that follow — " Prayers of the same to the 
Mother of God;" but for this he has no more reason 
than a Latin editor and translator of the New Testa- 

* " Prayers like those of Thecaras" (as the Roman editor repre- 
sents them) are found separately in some Vatican MSS. (not the MS. 
containing the prayers to the Virgin in question, but totally different), 
and are published in his third volume, from p. 482 to 492. Then 
come the penitential prayers of Thecaras (though his name is sup- 
pressed—" suppresso Thecaraj nomine ") from p. 492 to 523 ; at the 
bottom of which page is the prayer from the Horologium. In these 
penitential prayers (not of Ephraim, but Thecaras) there is no address 
to the Virgin, except in the middle of the Lamentation on the Lord's 
day at evening, in which it is unquestionably an interpolation violently 
thrust into the middle of a prayer to God, who is the sole object of in- 
vocation both before and after the interpolated rhapsody. Then follow, 
from p. 524, the prayers to which Dr. Wiseman appeals, headed each 
severally in the manuscript 'Evxii rj;s ^toroKov (a prayer of her who 
bare God), without reference either to Ephraim, or Thecaras, or any 
other author. 


ment would have for ascribing tlie Acts of tlie Apos- 
tles to St. John, because that book followed next in 
the Greek manuscript. The Vatican manuscript does 
not pretend to be a manuscript of Ephraim's works, 
or even of his prayers ; for example, between the 
third prayer to the Virgin, p. 1135 of the Vatican 
MS., and the fourth prayer, p. 1137, in p. 1136 in- 
tervenes a prayer to the Virgin, called by name A 
Prayer of Barsanuphius : * and, instead of any general 
heading, or any allusion to Ephraim, or even to The- 
caras, as the author, the manuscript calls each sepa- 
rately " A Prayer of the most holy Mother of God ;" 
"A Prayer of the Mother of God," f &c. ; and 
one is entitled " The Confessing Prayer to the most 
holy Mother of God." With reference to these 
prayers to the Virgin ascribed to Ephraim, it is very 
rfemarkable, that the Roman editor himselfj in his 
preface :j: to this edition, confesses, that though he 
cannot bring himself, with some late writers, to think 
the prayers unworthy of Ephraim, yet in prayers of 
this kind some epithets were added by amanuenses, 
either from their own piety towards the Virgin, or 
drawn from other writings of holy men. 

It has been already observed, that these prayers have 
never appeared before in any edition of Ephraim's 
works, nor are they found in any other manuscript than 
the Cod. Vat. 1190 ;^ except the first prayer, which 
is said to be found also in Cod. Vat. 663, p. 230. 
Even Vossius, who, in his dedicatory epistle to the 
Pope, II says that he had brought to light all the 

* Op. Eph. vol. i. p. cxxxvi. f Pp. 524, 548, &c. 

t Vol. i. p. liv. 

§ Vatican Cod. 1190, pp. 1133, 1134, 1135, 1137, 1147. 

II Vossius dates his letter 1589. 


works of Epbraim, some of which had never before 
been published, especially from the Italian, and more 
particularly the Roman manuscripts, makes no allu- 
sion to any of these prayers. And afterwards Pos- 
sevinus * though he speaks of the Vatican manu- 
scripts, does not allude to these. And yet Dr. 
Wiseman, in 1836, and again in 1841, quotes as 
the indisputable works of Ephraim prayers which, 
had they been the genuine productions of the writer 
to whom the week's penitential prayers are ascribed, 
would have been the productions, not of Ephraim, 
but of Thecaras ; but which even the very manuscript 
which contains them does not represent as having 
been the composition of either the one or the other. 

But, with regard to these supposititious prayers, the 
Roman editor himself is indeed by no means free from 
blame. In his preface f he represents these prayers, 
(not only those collected by Thecaras, but also those 
which are addressed to the Virgin), as being found, not 
only in the Vatican manuscripts, but also in the Cois- 
linian, and, as his authority, he quotes Montfaucon's 
account of the Coislinian manuscripts, referring to the 
very page ; yet he omits to tell us (what Montfaucon I 
reports expressly), that the first penitential prayer, with 
the opening of the second, is all that is contained in 
that MS., the rest of even those prayers being entirely 
lost^^ Of the prayers to the Virgin, quoted by Dr. 
Wiseman, that manuscript has not a single trace, 
though the Roman editor, || in the case of every one 

* Vol i. Op. Eph. p, Iviii. + Vol. i. clxviii. 

t Montfaucon, 1715, p. 426. 

§ In Montfaucon the title is, " Prayers collected by Thecaras the 
monk." Cod. 312, a fol. 310. See vol. i Op, Eph. p. clKvi. 

]| See alphabetical list of the works in Greek, vol. i. p. clxxxii. &c. 


of the eleven prayers separately, refers us by name to 
that manuscript as containing them. 

These prayers having nothing whatever to do with 
Ephraira, we need scarcely stop to remark, that internal 
evidence, clear and irresistible, proves them to have 
been of a much later age, not only than Ephraim, 
but even than the Council of Chalcedon ; whilst, in 
point of direct worship to the Virgin, they not only 
(as Dr. Wiseman tells us in his Lectures,*) go far be- 
yond anything which the members of his Church are in 
the habit of using nowadays, but might be cited as 
countenancing all the lamentable corruptions of Bona- 
ventura when he applies to Mary the language which 
in the Psalms is addressed only to the Most High. 
The writer scruples not to say to the Virgin,f " Thou 
only art the most highest over all the earth," ^ using the 
very words of the versicle, "Thou whose name is Jeho- 
vah art only the Most Highest in all the earth." Nay, 
to such a pitch of impiety does the writer go, as to ap- 
ply to Mary that name which the Saviour of the world 
appropriated to himself, "the true Vine."§ The first 
of these prayers to the Virgin ends thus (it is painful 
to transcribe such an ascription of glory to a creature, 
however pure and holy) : " That, being liberated from 
the darkness of sin, T might be deemed worthy to glo- 
rify and freely celebrate thee, the only true Mother of 
the true Light, Christ our God, because Thou alone 
WITH HIM {(Tvi/ ocvrco) and through him {h' avrov) art 
blessed and glorified by every creature visible and in- 
visible, now and always, for ever and ever. Amen." 

It is, moreover, curious to observe, that whereas 

•* Vol. ii. p. 109. f Vol. iii. pp. 544. ,539. 

% Septuag. Ps. Ixxxii. lleb. Ps. Ixxxiii. 
§ 'H ui^tteXbc i'i dXri^ii'}). St. John^ xv. 1. 


Epiphanius, in the passages already referred to in this 
volume, adopts language to which some of our Roman 
Catholic brethren have declared themselves ready to 
respond, " Let Mary be in honour, but let the Lord 
be worshipped. Let no one worship Mary ; " in these 
prayers the supplicant offers Mary worship, using the 
self-same Greek word by which Epiphanius proscribed 
her worship,* " But thee, O Bride of God, in faith we 
praise, with desire we venerate, and with fear we wor- 
ship, always magnifying and religiously blessing thee." 

But it is time to leave these blasphemies, most un- 
justly fathered upon Ephraim of Edessa, who, if we 
may judge from other works ascribed to him, would 
have shrunk from them as the wiles of the tempter, 
(to use Epiphanius' words,) bent on seducing men from 
the pure worship of the one only God, our Creator, 
Redeemer, and Sanctifier. 

But in the section of Dr. Wiseman's lectures quoted 
above occurs a passage found in a sermon, ascribed to 
Ephraim, on the praises of the Blessed Virgin. This 
discourse! is entitled " On the praises of the most 
holy Mother of God, the Virgin Mary," and it contains 

* The words of Epiphanius stand out in broad contrast with these 
spurious prayers : 

Epiphanius. Pbayeb ascbibed to Ephbaim. 

iv Tij.ii) eVw Maptci. MaptajJ. J/jutTs cte Btofvfi^t irkei eiiXo- 

jJ.r]Siis irpotTicvreiTW. ySfXiv. ttoBu yepaipofitv, Kal 

<j)6(iij> TTpoiTKvySfXsv, dd ire fii- 
■yaXvvovTEe Kj crewTuis ^aKapt- 

t This discourse is found in vol. iii. p. 575. There seems to be an 
error of the press in Dr. Wiseman's reference to vol. iii. p. 156. This 
discourse has nothing but its title in common with the Eulogy on the 
Virgin found in the Syriac, vol. iii. p. 604 ; in which there is no ad- 
dress to Mary, and praise is given only to the blessed Trinity. 


many stronger and more decided passages than those 
which Dr. Wiseman has extracted ; for example, the 
following : 

" By thee we are reconciled to Christ our God, thy 
most sweet son. Thou art the only advocate and suc- 
cour of sinners, and of those who are destitute of help. 
Thou art the redemption and liberation of captives. 
We have no other confidence than in thee, most pure 
Virgin. We are wholly under thy guardianship and 
protection. Wherefore we fly to thee alone, and with 
frequent tears, O most blessed Mother, we implore 
thee, and fall before thee, suppliantly calling on thee, 
and praying thee that thy most sweet Son, our Saviour, 
and the giver of the life of all, may not, on account of 
the many crimes we have committed, take us away 
from the midst, and, like a lion, tear our miserable 
SOULS TO PIECES. Hail, fountain of grace and of all 
consolation ! Hail, refuge of sinners ! hail, best medi- 
atrix between God and man! hail, most efficacious 
reconciler of the whole world ! hail, our comforter ! 
hail, sure and best hope of our soul ! hail, sure salva- 
tion of all Christians who sincerely and truly have 
recoui'se to thee ! " 

This discourse, however, is no more the genuine 
work of Ephraim Syrus than the prayers already ex- 
amined. It is found neither in the Syriac nor the 
Greek, and only in a Latin version. And the can- 
did and judicious Tillemont, who sets the seal of 
genuineness on every work which he is not com- 
pelled to repudiate, or at least in any doubtful case 
leaves the decision to his reader, dismisses this work 
without hesitation, and in these strong words : " Neither 
the ' Eulogy of the Holy Virgin,' nor the prayer ad- 
dressed to her, has anything of St. Ephraimi The 


Eulogy appears to have been the production of a Jeru- 
salem monk." 

There is a very extraordinary passage in the treatise 
on the second advent, which has been declared suppo- 
sititious by some, but whether on sufficient grounds we 
cannot pronounce, in which the writer addresses the 
Virgin Mary by name ; but since he equally addresses 
by name the cross, and Jerusalem above, and the king- 
dom of heaven, and since the whole is an imaginary 
representation of what will happen to a condemned 
soul, and has nothing to do with our worship on earth, 
nothing needs to be done more than to lay it open 
before the reader. The following is represented as the 
language of the lost, mingled with groans and bitter 
cries, when they see themselves left altogether by the 
Lord and his saints :* 

" Farewell, ye holy and just, from whom we are 
separated ; friends and relations, fathers and mothers, 
sons and daughters, apostles, prophets, and martyrs 
of the Lord ! Farewell, lady, who didst give birth 
to God ! thou indeed didst labour much, exhorting 
us to save ourselves,f but we would not repent and 
be saved. Farewell thou, too, honoured and life- 
giving cross ! farewell thou paradise of delight, which 
the Lord planted ! farewell, Jerusalem, who art above, 
the mother of the first-born ! farewell, kingdom of 
heaven, that hast no end ! — fare ye all well ! — we shall 
never see you again ; we are going to judgement, 
which hath no end or rest." On this passage, how- 
ever, it must be observed, that whilst the Virgin 
Mary seems to be represented as having laboured in 
exhorting the miserable sinners to repent and be 

* Vol. ii. p. 220. 

t TrapaKaXovrra — in another place it is TrapahaXovira 'vrrip r]fim'. 


saved, yet, in the language of Ephraim, that implies 
no belief as to her personal good offices, or as to any 
power of addressing herself to the minds of sinners ; 
for the same writer, in another treatise on the same 
subject, represents " Our Mother Jerusalem above as 
calling upon us with love and desire to come to her : 
' Come to me, come to me, my desired children. In 
the bridechamber of your Lord let your numbers be 
magnified io the light of the holy angels. Let me 
see you with glory and honour, with joy and exalta- 
tion. Desire me, my children, as I desire you.' " * 

But whilst in no one of the worksf which we may 
with anything approaching satisfactory assurance re- 
gard as Ephraim's, can we find any address to the 
Virgin, or any expression of dependence on her inter- 
cession, or her influence with God, ox her merits, 
many passages occur in which the absence of all 
mention of the Virgin's name seems to afford strong 
evidence that the writer did not think of her as her 
worshipper, or recur to her as an exalted and especial 
object of pious meditation.^ The following is an exam- 

* Vol. i. p. 169. 

t " The Lamentations of the Virgin," edited by Vossius, and 
found only in Latin, an anonymous writer (Letter dated Oseott, 1 843, 
p. 48) has lately declared to be attributed to Ephraim by the Ma- 
ronite and Jacobite Syrians, who sing them in Syriae on Good Friday. 
But all that Asseman says in the passage (vol. iii. p. liv.) probably 
referred to is, that " Those Syrian Christians sang Ephraemian la- 
mentations, from which this lamentation edited by Vossius appears to 
be taken." But that this is widely different from their being acknow- 
ledged as the productions of Ephraim, we are warned (vol. i. p. xvi.), 
where the editor tells us that they are in error who ascribe to Eph- 
raim all the hymns that occur in the offices of the Syrians under his 
name ; because these are not always Ephraim's, but are only written 
agreeably to the rule of Ephraim's metre. 

X See, also, the woik called the Ascetic Discouxse, toI. i. p. 63. 


pie of such testimony. In his exhortation to fly to God 
in prayer when we are assailed by the enemy, urging 
his brethren by a succession of holy thoughts to keep 
their minds from what is evil, he assures them that 
they need never to be in want of a proper subject 
of meditation ; and he thus proceeds : " We have 
what we may meditate upon at all times. We have 
the angels, we have the archangels ; we have the 
powers, the glorious dominions, we have the cheru- 
bim and seraphim ; we have ourselves ; we have 
God, the Sovereign of all, that glorious and holy 
name ; we have the prophets, we have the apostles ; 
we have the holy Gospels, the words of the Lord ; 
we have the martyrs, we have all the saints, we 
have the confessors ; we have the holy Fathers, pa- 
triarchs ; we have the shepherds, we have the priests ; 
we have the heavens, and all things in them ! Think 
on these things, and you shall be the sons of the Lord 
God by the grace and mercy of our Lord and Saviour, 
Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and power, now and 
for ever through all eternity. Amen."* 

If the Virgin Mary had possessed that place in 
this writer's mind which our Roman Catholic brethren 
now assign to her in theirs ;— if he contemplated her 
as " being exalted above the choirs of angels in heaven," 
to have been "taken up into the ethereal bride-chamber, 
in \vhich the King of kings sits on his starry throne ;" 
to be the "refuge of sinners," " the queen of angels, pa- 
triarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, confessors, and all 
saints;"— can we conceive that when enumerating all 
the subjects of a Christian's contemplation, from the 
eternal Father down to the Christian himself, he could 
have omitted all mention of Mary ? 

* Vol. i. p. 198. 


It is curious to remark, that, though in the first 
volume of the works in the Roman edition, Ephraim 
refers us to Symeon as a just and pious m^an, and 
to others, such as Martha and Mary, as patterns for 
our imitation in devotion, and speaks especially of 
purity, chastity, and humility, yet he never on these 
occasions adverts to Mary. We are not aware of her 
name being mentioned throughout the entire volume 
as an object of honour, or admiration, or gratitude. 

Instead, then, of agreeing with Dr. Wiseman, that, 
" if this glory of the Syriac Church had lived in our 
times, he would not have been allowed to officiate 
in the English Church, but would have been obliged to 
retire to some humble chapel, if he wished to discharge 
his sacred functions," because, according to Dr. Wise- 
man, he uses expressions when addressing the Virgin 
stronger than are ever used by any of the Roman 
Church now ; instead of allowing that page after 
page of Epbraim''s writings is filled with prayers to 
the mother of God; we challenge the most zealous 
and indefatigable advocate of her worship to bring 
forward one single passage which an upright and en- 
lightened criticism would pronounce genuine, and which 
contains the record of one single act of adoration or 
invocation of Mary, either by Ephraim himself, or by 
any one of his contemporaries. The prayers so con- 
fidently cited by Dr. Wiseman have nothing whatever 
to do with Ephraim the Syrian of Edessa as their 
author or recorder. 



Gi'egory, brother of Basil the Great, devoted him- 
self for many years to the calling of an orator and 
rhetorician. About the age of forty, and about the 
year 372, he was consecrated Bishop of Nyssa, in Cap- 
padocia, by Basil. He was a married man, for Gre- 
gory of Nazianzumf condoles with him on the loss of 
his wife after he had been admitted into the Christian 
priesthood. In common with many of his contempo- 
raries, he suffered much discomfort and persecution in 
consequence of the bitter controversies which dis- 
tracted the Church. The time of his release by death 
from the burden and cares of a servant of Christ is not 
certainly known ; it could not have been before the 
closing years of the fourth century, for he was unques- 
tionably present at the Council of Constantinople, 
A.D. 394. :|: Besides those works of Gregory the ge- 
nuineness of which is not disputed, some are ascribed 
to him which are justly suspected. On other subjects 
of theological inquiry it would be necessary to have 
the question settled, as best it might, which of those 
works should be received as genuine, and which should 
be considered as spurious. § With reference, however, 
to the question now before us we need not dwell 

* Threevols.fol. Paris, 1638. f Epist. 95. j: Pabricius, vol. ix.p. 98. 

§ It may be well to observe that some of these works must be set 
aside as spurious ; e. g. the Homily " In Occursum Domini," that 
feast not having been instituted till long after the time of Gregory ; 
and the sermon containing expressions which certainly were not in 
use up to the time of the Council of Chalcedon, such as BeofiriTrip Trap- 
&evog. In the Homily on the Nativity, the writer quotes at length 
from a work which he calls an apocryphal history, and dwells much 
on the unsullied purity of the Virgin. 


upon that point ; for in none of the works, whether 
rightly or incorrectly referred to Gregory as their 
author, is any countenance whatever given to the 
invocation of the Virgin Mary. In other departments 
of faith and practice, we perceive traces of credulity 
and superstition in his own mind, and indications of 
that growing corruption and degeneracy which then 
began to tarnish many portions of the Christian 
Church. In his harangues over the ashes of mar- 
tyrs, (if those homilies be the genuine productions 
of Gregory,) whilst we are offended by much of the 
declamation of the sophist, we seek in vain for that 
soberness of judgement which is indispensable in a 
teacher of divine things. But in his genuine works, 
whilst he is writing his thoughts calmly and delibe- 
rately, there is much worthy of the pen of a Christian 
philosopher. Thus, in his elaborate work written 
against the errors of Eunomius, we find these reflec- 
tions on the object of Christian worship, worthy of 
the best age : 

" That nothing which is brought into existence by 
creation is an object of worship to man, the divine 
word has enacted, as we may learn from almost the 
whole of the sacred volume. Moses, the Tables, the 
Law, the Prophets in order, the Gospels, the decrees 
of all the Apostles, equally forbid us to look to the 
creature."* " That we may, therefore, not be subject 
to these things, we, who are taught by the Scriptures 
to look to the true Godhead, are instructed to regard 
every created being as foreign from the divine nature, 
and to serve and reverence the uncreated nature alone, 
the characteristic and distinguishing property of whicli 

* Vol, ii. book iv. p. 572. 


is neither to have had any beginning of existence, nor 
ever to cease to exist."* 

In his comment on the Lord's Prayer,f which will re- 
pay a more minute examination, Gregory defines prayer 
to be " a petition for some good presented with sup- 
plication to God ;" adding this among other valuable 
suggestions, " Have a pure mind, and then boldly ad- 
dress God with your own voice, and call him your 
Father who is the Sovereign of all. He will look 
upon you with fatherly eyes ; he will clothe you with 
the divine robe, and adorn you with his ring ; he will 
prepare your feet with Gospel sandals for the journey 
upwards, and will settle you in the heavenly coun- 

As we might have expected in one who entertained 
these principles on the unity of the object of worship, 
and on the duty and privilege of drawing nigh unto 
God our own selves in prayer, we can discover not a 
single trace, however faint, of any invocation of the Vir- 
gin in any one of his works. But the evidence arises 
not merely from the absence of any expression of reli- 
gious feelings towards her in discussions which might 
not naturally suggest them, and where silence might 
be compatible with such feelings : When speaking of 
God manifest in the flesh, of the pure and spotless 
nature of Christ as man, of God becoming man, taking 
upon himself a body which should bear God, though he 
dwells much and repeatedly on the miraculous concep- 
tion and the miraculous birth, he seems of fixed pur- 
pose to draw our minds away from the person of her 
who gave birth to the Saviour, and to fix them on the 
office or part assigned to her in that mysterious dispen- 

* Vol. ii. p. 574. f Vol. ii. p. 724. ^ P. 731. 


sation. There may be exceptions which even a careful 
examination may have passed by unobserved ; but in 
general, when he is most specific in maintaining the 
immaculate nature of Christ's birth, he never mentions 
Mary by name ; his expressions for the most part are, 
" the Virgin purity," "the Virginity," and, much less fre- 
quently, " the Virgin." His object is to maintain that 
God became man by a miraculous birth of Virgin 
purity, and he seems to regard the Virgin as having 
discharged her office in this mysterious economy of 
grace when she had given birth to the Redeemer, 
who took our nature of the seed of David from her 

A few examples will suffice. In his work on the 
life of Moses and his account of the Creation he thus 
speaks of Christ : 

"This is the only-begotten God, who himself com- 
prehends all things, and yet pitched his tabernacle 

among us Marriage did not produce his divine 

flesh, but he becomes the framer of his own body, 
marked out by the finger of God; for the Holy 
Ghost came upon the Virgin, and the power of the 
Highest overshadowed her." * 

It is remarkable that, whereas the Roman Ri- 
tual applies the language of the book of Ecclesiastes 
and the Song of Solomon to the Virgin Mary, and 
authorsf who have written in defence of her worship 
appeal to those oracles of truth as evidence of her 
exalted character yet, this Gregory, in his elaborate 
interpretation of those books, though he speaks very 

* Vol. i. pp. 224 and 234. 

+ Coccius (vol. i. 262) appeals to Canticles, iv. 7, as a Scripture 
proof of the supreme excellence of the Virgin. See also Breviarium 
Romanum, [Husenbeth, Norwich, 1830,] JEst. p. 600. 

B 2 


much at large, and very minutely, of Christ's birth, 
does not allude to Mary at all. This point is more 
especially observable in bis spiritual application of 
the Song of Solomon to the Christian dispensation. 
He considers that under the figure of a marriage is 
represented the union between the human soul and 
God. In the course of his discussion he refers to 
St. John lying on our Lord's bosom ; he invites the 
daughters of Jerusalem to look to their mother, Je- 
rusalem vrhich is above ; he interprets one passage 
as foreshadowing the angels attending our Lord when 
he became man ; another as fulfilled in the devoted- 
ness of the twelve Apostles; another, in the beauty 
of the Christian Church ; he speaks of the genea- 
logy of Christ traced from Abraham and David ; 
he directs our thoughts to Nathanael, and Andrew, 
and the great Apostle John ; he tells us of Paul 
pouring the pure doctrine of truth into the ears of 
THE Holy Virgin, but that Virgin was Thecla.* 
Of the Virgin Mary he says nothing. If from the 
works of Gregory of Nyssa we turn to the Roman 
Ritual as established and observed at the present 
day, every impartial inquirer will see that Gregory 
and the framers of that Liturgy have not drawn 
from the same source. Passage after passage in the 
Roman service on the feasts of the Virgin are ap- 
plied to her, which Gregory applies to the glory of 
Christ's divinity, of his truth, and of liis Church. 
Nay, when he dwells upon the mystery that Christ 
alone, of all the myriads on myriads of men, was born, 
not as others but, of the purity of a virgin,f he applies 
no single passage of the whole book to Mary; nor does 

• Vol.i. p. 676. -f P. 667. 


he speak of the Virgin personally, but only of the 
virginhood of which Christ was born. * 

Two or three passages will suffice to establish these 
points ; though the full force of the evidence can be 
felt only by seeing in the very writings of Gregory 
how many opportunities offered themselves to him 
for the natural expression of sentiments of reverence 
and worship towards the Virgin Mary as an object 
of invocation, where we find very different thoughts 
suggested. In his first homily on the Canticles f he 
says, " Think ye that I am speaking of that Solomon 
who was born of Bathsheba? Another Solomon is 
signified, who is also himself born of the seed of 
David, whose name is Peace, the true King of Israel, 
whose wisdom is unbounded, or rather whose essence 
is wisdom and truth." 

On the mystery, How in Virginhood there could 
be Birth?! he says, "Since one part of Christ is not 
produced, and the other is produced, the unproduced 
we call that which is eternal and before the world, 
and which made all things ; the produced, that which, 
according to the dispensation effected for our sakes, 
was conformed to the body of our humility. Rather 
it would be preferable to set forth this idea in the very 
words of God. We call The Unproduced The Word, 
who was in the beginning, by whom all things were 
made, and without whom was nothing that was made ; 
The Produced, Him who became flesh and dwelt 
among us, whom even when incarnate the effulgent 
glory shews to be God manifest in the flesh — verily 

* P. 668. Toe riJQ TrapStviaQ (iXwrov. — T^e aapicoi (fvaiv rjv hid Ttji 
a^^opov irap^et'iag dviXafiev, 1. p. 663. 

t Vol. i. Horn. i. p. 475. X Vol. i. p. 662. 


God — the only-begotten, who is in the bosom of the 

In all these passages, — and many others might be 
added, — even when maintaining that the Virgin purity 
was preserved in the birth of Christ,* there is no men- 
tion made of Mary, nor one word uttered in her praise ; 
no reliance placed on her merits, or on the power of 
her intercession — no invocation of her good offices, or 
of the mediation of her prayers. With Gregory of 
Nyssa God in Christ is all in all. 


ST. AMBROSE, a. d. 397. 

St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, has ever been held 
in high esteem by every branch of the Catholic Church, 
as well as by the Church of Rome. In a collect in the 
Roman Ritual (a prayer, unjustifiably, as it appears to 
us, and unholily addressed to his spirit in heaven,) he 
is called "most excellent Teacher," " Light of the 
Holy Church," " Lover of the Divine Law." And many 
of the hymns ascribed to St. Ambrose the Church of 
Rome has adopted into her service. 

St. Ambrose was born in France, probably about the 
year 840 : his death is generally referred to the year 
397. He became Bishop of Milan in the year 374. 
Tiirough all the works of St. Ambrose we have not 
found a single passage which gives the faintest indica- 
tion that the invocation of the Virgin formed any part 
of Catholic worship in his time, or that he or his fel- 

'^ Vol. li. Orat. ii. Cont. Euiiom. p, 537. 


low-Christians placed any confidence in her mediation, 
or offered any jsrayers to Almighty God, hoping for 
acceptance through her intercession. And this in the 
case of St. Ambrose is proof of no ordinary weight and 
character.* For not only are his writings interspers- 
ed throughout with prayers and supplications to the 
throne of grace, (in some of which mention is directly 
made of the incarnation of our Lord in the Virgin 
Mary by name,) but he has left us many of his own 
hymns, which, as we have said, the Roman Church 
has incorporated into her Liturgy. These hymns in- 
deed glow with fervent piety, and are well fitted to 
lift up the Christian's soul heavenward to his God and 

* It is curious to observe, that whilst the Benedictine editors, who 
evidently have bestowed much thought and care on the subject, ex- 
clude from the catalogue of the hymns of St. Ambrose many ascribed 
to him in the Roman Breviary ; some, which the rigid rule prescribed 
by those editors has stamped with his name, are given in the Breviary 
to another. It may not, perhaps, be uninteresting here to have 
inserted the titles of the twelve hymns allowed by the Benedictine 
editors to be the genuine productions of St. Ambrose ; though with 
reason they admonish us that probably even these have been sub- 
jected to changes and variations in the course of time. 

1 . Sterne rerum Conditor. 

2. Deus Creator omnium. 

3. Jam surgit hora tertia. 

4. Veni Redemptor Gentium. 

5. Illuminans Altissimus. 

6. Orabo mente Dominum. 

7. Splendor Paternse GloriEe. 

8. j3j)terna Christi munera. 

9. Somno refectis artubus. 

10. Censors Paterni Luminis. 

11. Lux, Beata Trinitas. 

12. Fit Porta Christi pervia. 

The Breviary reckons as hymns of St. Ambrose, 1. Rerum Creator 
omnium ; 2. Te lucis ante terminum ; 3. Christe Redemptor omnium ; 
4. Jam Christus SolJustitise ; 5. Audi Benigne Conditor; 6. Ex more 
docti mystico ; 7. Veni Creator Spiritus ; 8. Jesu nostra Redemptio ; 
whilst it ascribes Lux, Beata Trinitas, to St. Gregory. The reader 
is referred for further information on this subject to the Benedictine 
edition, vol. ii. p. 1218. 


Saviour. But in no single line does Ambrose rob 
that Saviour of his own proper and exclusive honour as 
our only mediator and advocate ; in no one does he 
make mention of Mary's intercession, under the plea 
that he is honouring the Saviour when he honours 
the Mother. Had any such worship of the Virgin 
prevailed in Christendom as we now see in the Ro- 
man Church, surely these fruits of the heart and the 
pen of the Christian poet would have contained some 
instances of the fact. These divine songs would surely 
have afforded ample room for his feelings and his ima- 
gination in addresses to the Virgin, had his faith and 
his understanding sanctioned any mention of her 
name as an object of religious worship. But the 
contrary is most strikingly the fact. In the Bre- 
viary corrected agreeably to the decree of the Council 
of Trent, and commanded by Pope Pius, in 1568, to 
be used throughout the world, many of the hymns 
are ascribed to their supposed authors. The hymns 
assigned to St. Ambrose stand out in strong, and at 
the same time lovely, contrast with the degenerate 
effusions of later days. No address to Mary is dis- 
coverable in any one of them, no prayer to the Supreme 
Being to hear the intercession of Mary in the Chris- 
tian's behalf. The addresses of Ambrose are made to 
God alone, and offered through Christ alone. In 
these hymns he speaks again and again of the Virgin- 
Mother,* whose honour and joy was Christ ; he quotes 
our Lord's words upon the cross, " Woman, behold thy 
son ;" he speaks of the believer's hope in life and in 
death ; but that hope he describes as being found, not 
in the patronage, and advocacy, and intercession of the 
Virgin, but solely in the mercy of God, who for our 

* Hvmn. xii. 


sakes became man and was born of a pure Virgin. We 
must also observe, that whereas the hymns of later 
ages represent Mary as the Bride of the Most High, 
and speak of the Almighty as her husband, whose 
wrath she may appease, Ambrose represents the Virgin 
as the royal palace of chastity, the chamber from which 
the Son of God proceeded, (alluding to the Psalmist's 
expression,) the temple in which for a while he dwelt.* 
But, when he speaks of Him as a bridegroom, the 
bride is not Mary, but his holy Church; of whom 
He is at once the Spouse, the Redeemer, and the 
Builder, f 

The works of Ambrose enable us to infer that he 
considered the Virgin Mary holy and immaculate in her 
person, and holy and mysterious in her office ; blessed 
among women ; and in purity of mind, piety of soul, 
devotedness to God, attention to friends and relatives 
in their need, in a word, in all that can adorn the ser- 
vants of heaven, a bright example for those who would 
be approved servants of God, especially professed vir- 
gins : and he strenuously maintains, (though sometimes 
by arguments which may not be approved by all,) that, 
after the birth of Christ, Mary remained a virgin. J In 
his work on Virgins, and in his treatise called The Insti- 
tution of Virgins, he dwells very much upon the excel- 
lence of Mary, and he encourages Christian virgins by 
suggesting the thought of Mary presenting them to 
our Saviour in heaven ; § and had he addressed her by 
invocation, or offered prayers to God through her inter- 
cession, it would appear the most improbable of all 

* Ps. xix. 5. 

t Processit aula Vii'giuis 

Sponsus, Redemptoi-j Conditor, 
Suae Gigas Ecclesise. 
: Vol. ii. pp. 260, 261. § De 7ii-g. lib. ii. c. 2. 


things that he should not have given the slightest in- 
timation of such belief and practice either on his own 
part, or on the part of the Church. But so it is ; we 
seek in vain for any indication of the kind. 

It may be satisfactory to make two or three extracts 
as specimens of the mode in which Ambrose speaks of 
the Virgin : he generally calls her Mary alone ; but 
sometimes, though very rarely, adds (what we are 
ever ready to add) the epithet " holy." * 

On the words of Elizabeth addressed to Mary, "And 
blessed is she who believed," Ambrose observes, "You 
see that Mary did not doubt, but believe ; and conse- 
quently she obtained the fruit of faith. ' And 
blessed' (she says) ' art thou who believedst.' But 
ye also are blessed who have heard and believed ; for 
every soul that believeth, both conceives and brings 
FORTH THE WoRD OF GoD, and acknowledges his works. 
Let the soul of Mary be in every one, so as to magnify 
the Lord ; let the spirit of Mary be in every one, so as 
to rejoice in God. If according to the flesh there is 
one Mother of Christ, yet according to faith Christ is 
the fruit of every one : for every soul receives the 
word of God ; provided, nevertheless, that being im- 
maculate and free from vice it preserve its chastity 
with unpolluted modesty." f 

Thus it is that, when speaking of Mary's character 
and 'conduct, he does so with the view, not of exalting 
her, but of exciting others to follow her example. 

On the passage of St. Luke, "My mother and bre- 
thren are these who hear the word of God and do it," 
Ambrose thus comments, " He is a master in morality 
who affords in his own person an example to others, 

* Vol. i. p. 1291. t Vol. i. p. 1290. 


and the preceptor is himself the person to put his own 
precepts into practice. For whereas he was about to 
instruct others that one who would not leave his father 
and mother is not worthy of the Son of God, he first 
subjects himself to this same rule ; not that he might 
disclaim the kindnesses of maternal pietj, (for his 
own rule is, He who honoureth not his father or mother, 
let him die the death,) but because he acknowledges 
that he owes more to the mysteries of his Father than 
to the affections of his mother. Nor are parents un- 
justly discarded here, but the ties of the mind are re- 
presented as more obligatory than the ties of the body. 
They ought not to stand without, who seek to see 
Christ. For if parents themselves, when they stand 
without, are not acknowledged, (and perhaps they are 
not acknowledged for an example to us,) how shall we 
be acknowledged if we stand without ? Consequently 
here it is, not (as some heretics lay their snares) that 
the mother is denied, who is acknowledged even from 
the cross, but Heaven's commands are prefei-red to 
bodily relationships."''"" 

The heretics to whom Ambrose here refers were 
those who denied that Christ was very man born of 

In his obseTvations on what took place at the cruci- 
fixion, Ambrose, whilst he recognizes the entire and 
perfect sacrifice for sin offered by Christ alone, and 
powerfully sets aside all assistance from others in that 
work, at the same time suggests the possibility of a 
strange idea having arisen in Mary's mind that her 
death might assist somewhat towards the good of man- 
kind to be effected at that hour; an idea which Ambrose 

"^^ Vol. i. p. ia92. i' See Jerome on Matl. xii. 


represents as the offspring of ignorance in a very pious 
mind ready to sacrifice self to duty. It is remarkable 
too, that Ambrose here, as in his hymns, calls Mary, 
not the Queen of heaven, or the Spouse of God, but 
the Royal palace, the habitation of the temple of the 
Son of God ; just as the Apostles called every true 
Christian the temple of God, the habitation of God, 
through the Spirit.* The same sentiments occur in 
other of his works. f "But Mary, no less than it be- 
came the mother of Christ, when the Apostles fled, 
stood before the cross, and with pious eyes beheld the 
wounds of her Son, because she expected not the 
death of the pledge, but the salvation of the world ; 
or perhaps, because she had known of the redemption 
of the world by the death of her Son, the Royal 
palace thought that she might herself by her death 
also add somewhat to the public good. But Jesus 
wanted not an assistant for the redemption of all. He 
accepted his mother's affection, but He needed not the 
assistance of man." 

" We have then a teacher of piety : this lesson 
teaches us what a mother's aflfection should imitate, 
and what the reverence of sons should follow ; namely, 
that they" (the mothers) " should offer themselves 
amidst the dangers of their children ; that to the chil- 
dren the mother's anxiety should be a source of greater 
grief than the sadness of their own death."J 

In his comment on the 118th Psalm, St. Ambrose 
tjms speaks: § " Come, O Lord Jesus, seek thy servant, 
seek thy wearied sheep ; come, O shepherd. . . . Come, 
O Lord, because thou alone canst recal a wandering 
sbeep Come and seek thy sheep, not by 

» Eph. ii. 22 ; 2 Cor. vi. 16, &c. f Vol. ii. p. 260. 

+ Vol. i. p. 1533, and vol. ii. p. 1048. § Vol. i. p. 1254. 


servants, not bj hirelings, but by thine own self. 
Do tbou take me in the flesh, which fell in Adam. 
Take me, Thou, not of Sarah, but of Mary, that it" 
[the flesh thou tookest from Mary] " might be an 
uncorrupt virgin, but a virgin by grace free from 
every stain of sin. Bear me ou the Cross, which 
brings salvation to those in error, in which alone is 
rest to the weary, in which they who die will live." 

We must not bring our review of the evidence 
of St, Ambrose to a close without referring briefly 
to a comment on the Epistle to the Romans, which 
was for ages ascribed to him as its author. Henc- 
man, and the Church of Lyons, and the third Coun- 
cil of Aken, with many others, have quoted largely 
from this work as the production of Ambrose ; Laa- 
franc, Peter Lombard, Gratian, as the Benedictine 
editors candidly inform us, and even Cardinal Bel- 
larmin, considered it his genuine work. But those 
editors are decidedly of opinion that it is not the 
composition of Ambrose ; and we will not cite it 
as containing his sentiments. Whatever were its 
origin, whether it were of an earlier or a later age, 
it is a very interesting work: and if it must be 
ascribed to a time when the Invocation of Saints, 
and the pleading of their merits, had been esta- 
blished, it becomes indeed a very extraordinary pro- 
duction. On the passage " Professing themselves to be 
wise, they became fools," we read this comment:* 
" They think themselves wise, because they fancy they 
have investigated the laws of nature ; examining the 
courses of the stars and the qualities of the ele- 
ments, but despising the Lord of these. They are 
therefore fools ; for, if these are objects of praise, how 
* Vol, ii. p. 34 of Appendix. 


much more the Creator of these ? Yet, when they 
are under a feeling of shame, they are accustom- 
ed to use this wretched excuse, that by means 
of those men " [per istos] " they can approach to 
God, as men approach a king by his courtiers. 

" Come. Is any one so foolish and forgetful of his 
own safety as to claim for the courtier the honour 
due to the king ? Should any be found attempt- 
ing such a thing, they would justly be condemned 
of high treason. And yet these men do not think 
themselves guilty, who transfer the honour of God 
to a creature, and, leaving the Lord, adore their 
fellow-servants ; as if there were any thing fur- 
proach a king by his officers and courtiers, only be- 
cause the king is a man, and knows not to whom 
he ought to entrust his government. But to secure 
God's favour, (from whom nothing is hid, for he 
knows the deserts of every one,) there is need, not 
of an intercessor, but of a devout mind; for, where- 
soever such a one addresses Him, He will answer him." 

Whoever was the author of these sentiments, they 
coincide entirely with those of St. Ambrose in his un- 
disputed work on the death of Theodosius. 

" Thou alone, O Lord, art to be invoked ; thou 
alone art to be implored to cause him [the Emperor] 
to -be represented in his sons. Do thou, O Lord, 
by guarding even the little ones in this humility, 
preserve those safe who hope in thee."* 

* Vol. ii. p. I £07. See also the strong language in which he repu- 
diates all idea of any created being becoming our spiritual physician, 
or promoting by his good offices our restoration to God ; vol. i. p. 1352. 





Two of the brightest ornaments of the Christian 
world next oifer themselves for our examination, 
— St. John Chrysostom, the glory of the Greek 
Church, and St. Augustine, equally the honour of 
the Latin. According to the most generally re- 
ceived accounts, these two luminaries of our holy 
faith were born into the world in the very same 
year, a. d. 364 ; though Chrysostom was called to 
his rest when he had scarcely passed the meridian 
of man's life as a labourer in Christ's vineyard, and 
his brother-confessor was left to toil successfully in 
the same field till he had passed the age after 
which the Psalmist bids us expect only labour and 


John, surnamed from his extraordinary eloquence 
Chrysostom, or "the golden-mouthed," was born in 
Antioch of Cselosyria about the year a.d. 354.f His 

* Thirteen vols. fol. Paris, 1718. 

+ Writers are not agreed as to the time of Chrysostom's birth ; some 
placing it as early as a.d. 347, others so late as a.d. 354. 


father died soon after his birth, and he was baptized in 
his 23rd year. At the age of twenty-seven, he was or- 
dained deacon, and at thirty-two priest : in his 44th 
year he succeeded Nectarius, who was the successor of 
Gregory of Nazianzum, as Bishop of Constantinople. 
From this office he was deposed, and he died in exile 
somewhere about the year 407- In our endeavours 
to ascertain the standard of doctrine, the habitual 
views, and ruling principles and sentiments of this 
noble Christian writer, the greatest care is necessary 
in distinguishing between his genuine works, and 
those productions which patient and enlightened cri- 
ticism must pronounce to be spurious. The learned 
Benedictine editor represents the treatises to be innu- 
merable which the fraud of booksellers and the ab- 
surd vanity of petty authors* had combined to impose 
upon the world as Chrysostom's, but which had no 
pretensions to such a place in literature. The works, 
too, which upon the whole must be regarded as the 
genuine productions of his tongue or pen, (as the 
same authority teaches us to suspect, whilst our own 
observation can only increase the suspicion,) are by no 
meansfreefrom changes and interpolations. Would that 
a wide and careful research were instituted by men ade- 
quate to the task into the treasures which still remain 
unexamined! Next to the blessed Scriptures them- 
selves, no department of theology so powerfully appeals 
to Ihe Christian world for the united efforts of those 
to whom primitive truth is dear, as the text of the 
early writers both of the Greek and of the Latin 
Church ; nor would any field more abundantly or satis- 
factorily repay the labour bestowed upon it. This 
remark, applicable in the case of all those ancient 

* Innumeri pene Grseculi. 


Fathers whose remains have been saved from, the 
wreck of time, is forced upon us with especial interest 
in our examination of St. Chrysostom's testimony. 
The attempt to support a system, however ancient or 
however valued, by counterfeit witnesses, and by evi- 
dence which will not bear the light of day, even were 
it consistent with the principles of Christianity or of 
common honesty, cannot be long successful. Too 
long indeed already has dependence been placed upon 
translations made by persons incompetent to the task, 
or by men who professedly left the original when 
they fancied they could substitute something prefer- 
able of their own ; and too long has the custom pre- 
vailed, even among the most celebrated champions of 
theological tenets, recklessly to quote, as genuine 
evidence of the earliest doctrines of the Church, the 
unworthy forgeries of a corrupt and ignorant age. The 
Benedictine editors have done much towards the puri- 
fying of the volumes of Chrysostom from the gross and 
palpable impositions with which age after age had 
loaded them. Were we engaged in ascertaining his 
evidence on some other points of doctrine, it would 
be necessary to speak somewhat more at large on this 
subject ; but for the immediate object of our investiga- 
tion we need dwell no longer upon it now. We shall 
cite no passage which the Benedictine editors have 
not admitted as genuine, nor exclude any which they 
have not pronounced to be spurious. 

On the subject of our inquiry, the result of a tho- 
rough examination of the works of St. Chrysostom is 
the conviction, that from his first to his last page 
there is not the faintest intimation that he either ad- 
dressed the Virgin Mary by invocation, or placed any 
confidence in her merits and intercession himself, or 



that he was at all aware that Christians, either indivi- 
dually or as a body in the Church, had ever prayed to 
her even for her prayers, or had prayed to God to hear 
them through her intercession. 

But the testimony of St. Chrysostom is not merely 
negative; on the contrary, the evidence is clear, and 
strong, and manifold, that he addressed his prayers to 
Almighty God alone, in the name and through the 
mediation of Jesus Christ our only Saviour, never in- 
voking the Virgin, never making mention of her name, 
even in a subordinate sense, as intercessor or mediator. 

The sentiments of Chrysostom on the necessity, the 
dignity, and the blessed effects of prayer are so just, 
and at the same time so encouraging and uplifting, 
that, before we cite the proofs of these positions, we 
shall do well to reflect on some few of the passages 
which convey his views on prayer. We shall find 
him exhorting sincere Christians to approach with 
humble confidence to the throne of grace, taking with 
them faith, and repentance, and obedient love ; and 
seeking then for no foreign aid or recommendation, 
looking for no intercessor in heaven but Christ only. 
These sentiments are not confined to any part of his 
voluminous remains, but are interspersed through 
them all : the difficulty is not to discover them, but 
to select from those which offer themselves. In his 
comjnent on the 4th Psalm we read these beautiful re- 
marks on the efficacy of prayer :* 

" If I possess justice, some one will say. What need 
of prayer ; for that will guide us right in all things, 
and He who gives knows what we need? Because 
prayer is no slight bond of love towards God, accus- 
toming us to habitual intercourse with him, and leading 

* Vol. V. p. 8. 


US to wisdom ; for if any one, by intercourse -with 
some admirable man, gathers much fruit from the inter- 
course, how much more will he who has continual 
intercourse with God ! But we have not an adequate 
sense of the value of prayer, since we do not apply to 
it with thoughtful care, nor employ it agreeably to the 
laws of God If we would approach with becom- 
ing carefulness, and as persons about to converse with 
God, we should then know, even before we received 
what we asked, how great a gain we must reap as its 
fruit ; for a man who is trained to converse with God, 
as we ought, will afterwards be an angel. It is thus 
that his soul is loosened from the bonds of the body ; 
thus his reason is lifted on high ; thus is his home 
removed to heaven ; thus does he look above the things 
of this life ; thus is he stationed by the royal throne 
itself, though he be poor, though he be a servant, ob- 
scure and unlettered. For God seeketh not the beauty 
of language, nor the composition of words, but the 
loveliness of the soul ; and, if that speak what is well- 
pleasing to Him, the man goes away with the full 
accomplishment of his purpose. See you how great 
facility is here ? Among men, when a man applies to 
any one, he must needs be a good speaker, and must 
flatter enough those who are about the great man, and 
devise many other schemes to insure a favourable re- 
ception ; but here he wants nothing but a sober mind, 
and then there is nothing to prevent his being nigh to 
God, ' For I am a God drawing nigh, and not a God 
far off.' So that to be far off is owing to ourselves ; 
for He is himself always near. And why say I that 
we need not oratory? Often we do not even need a 
voice ; for even if you speak in your hearts, and call 

upon him aright, he will readily assent even then 

s 2 


No soldier stands by to drive you away ; no spear- 
bearer, to cut off the opportunity; no one to say, You 
cannot approach him now, come again. But, whenever 
you come, he is standing to hear — be it in the time of 
dinner, in the time of supper, at midnight, in the mar- 
ket-place, in the way, in the chamber, — though you 
approach within, and present yourself in the judgement 
hall to the Ruler, and call Him. There is nothing to 
hinder him from assenting to your request, if you call 
on him aright. There is no ground for saying, I fear 
to approach, and present my petition ; my enemy is 
standing by. Even this obstacle is removed : He will 
not attend to your enemy, and cut short your suit. You 
may always and continually plead with him, and there 
is no difficulty. There is no need of porters to intro- 
duce you, nor stewards, nor comptrollers, nor guards, 
nor friends; but when you by yourself approach, then 
he will most of all listen to you, then [I say] when 
you ask no one. We do not so much prevail with him 
when we ask by others, as when we ask by ourselves ; 
for, since it is our own friendship he loves, he takes 
every means of fixing our confidence in him. When 
he sees us doing this by ourselves, then he especially 
grants our request. Thus did he in the case of the 
woman of Canaan ; when Peter and James applied to 
him in her behalf, he did not assent ; but, when she 
herself persevered, he soon granted her request. For, 
though he seemed to defer it for a little while, he did 
so, not to put her off, but to crown her the more, and 
to draw her supplication nearer to himself. Let 
us, therefore, take good heed to approach God in 
prayer ; and let us learn how we ought to offer our 

On the importunity and success of this Syrophoe- 


iiiciaii suppliant Clirysostom dwells repeatedly, and 
in such a manner as to force us to believe that he 
could not himself have had recourse to the invocation 
of any other heing than God alone, or have suggested 
to others any confidence in the intercession of any 
other mediator than Christ only, certainly not making 
an exception in favour of the blessed Virgin. In his 
comment on Genesis, chap, xvi.,* he furnishes us with 
many valnable reftections on the mercy of the Saviour, 
and the holy confidence with which true Christians 
may rest all their hopes in Him, and approach Ilim 
in prayer, with sure trust that they will never be sent 
empty away. We would gladly embody that com.- 
ment in the present treatise ; but, although bearing 
directly on our point, it -would swell this i^art of our 
evidence to a disproportionate extent. On the ge- 
neral sentiments of Chrysostom as to the Christian 
duty of praying to God only through the mediation 
of his blessed Son, without the intercession of any 
other mediator, we will confine ourselves to two short 
extracts further ; the irst from his homUy composed 
expressly on the woman of Canaan, the other from his 
comment on the Epistle to the Romans. 
In the first passage we read these words : f 
" 'And Jesus going out from thence went into the 
parts of Tyre and Sidon, and behold, a woman.' The 
Evangelist wonders, ' Behold, a woman,' the ancient 
armour of the devil, she who expelled me from para- 
dise, the mother of sin, the prime leader of trans- 
gression. That very woman comes, that very nature ; 
a new and unlooked-for wonder ! The Jews fly from 
him, and the woman follows him. ' And behold, a 
woman coming otit from those coasts besought him, 

«• Vol. iv. p. 386. t Vol. iii, p. 4-35. 


saying, O Lord, thou Son of David, have mercy on 
me.' The woman becomes an Evangelist and acknow- 
ledges his divinity, and the dispensation, — 'O Lord !' — 
[she acknowledges] his sovereignty : ' Thou Son of 
David,' — she confesses his incarnation : ' Have mercy 
on me,' see her philosophic spirit. ' Have mercy on 
me, I have no good deeds, I have no confidence from 
my manner of life ; I betake myself to mercy, to the 
common haven of sinners ; I betake myself to mercy, 
where is no judgement-seat, where my safety is freed 
from investigation.' Though she were thus a sinner 
and a transgressor, she is bold enough to approach. 
And see the wisdom of the woman ; she calls not 
on James, she does not supplicate John, she ap- 
proaches not to Peter, she does not force her way 
through their company. ' I have no need of a me- 
diator : but, taking repentance to plead with me, I 
approach the Fountain itself For this cause he 
came down, for this cause he became incarnate, that I 
might converse with him.' The cherubim tremble at 
Him above, and here below a harlot converses with 
him. ' Have mercy on me !' It is a simple word, and 
yet it finds a fathomless sea of salvation. ' Have 
mercy on me ! ' For this cause thou didst come, for 
this cause thou tookedst upon thee flesh, for this cause 
thou becamest what I am. Above is trembling, below 
is coijfidence. Have mercy on me ! I have no need 
of a mediator. Have mercy on me!" 

In the other passage adverted to above,""' we find 
him thus commenting on the Apostle's benediction, 
" The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, 
Amen." " See you whence we ought to begin, and 
where to end all things'? For from this he laid the 

* Vol. ix. p. 756. 


foundation of his epistle, and from this he put on also 
its roof; at once both praying for the mother of all 
good things for them, and mentioning also every be- 
nefit. For this is the chief province of a true instruc- 
tor ; to benefit his disciples, not by word only, but also 
by prayer. Wherefore, he says, we will persevere in 
prayer and in the ministration of the word. Who, 


AWAY? These who are imitators of Paul. Only 
let us render ourselves worthy of such patronage, that 
we may not only hear Paul's voice here, but, even 
when we go thither, may be found worthy to see the 
champion of Christ. And the rather, if we listen to 
him here, shall we see him there ; even though not 
ourselves standing near, yet we shall at all events see 
liim shining near the royal throne. There the che- 
rubim glorify, there the seraphim fly, there shall we see, 
together with Peter and the choir of Saints, Paul, being 
their chief leader and president ;* and we shall enjoy 
true love. For if, when he was here, he so loved men, 
that, on the choice being offered him to be dissolved 
and to be with Christ, he chose to be here; how 
much more ardent will he shew his love there ?" 

It may be asked whether it is within the verge of pro- 
bability that St. Chrysostom, when he speaks of these 
things in this manner, could have believed it lawful and 
beneficial for a Christian to pray to any other mediator, 
or throuo-h any other intercessor than Christ alone ? 
" I want no mediator." " She applies not to the Apos- 
tles." " Who shall pray for us, now Paul is gone ?" Is 
it possible to conceive that, had he practised the invo- 

* It may be remarked, that in this passage, not Peter, but Paul, 
is represented as the chief leader and president of the Saints, even 
when Peter is also named. 


cation of Saints, he would not have alluded to it here : 
and have assured his disciples, that though Paul was 
absent, yet was he still carrying on the office of inter- 
cessor ? Instead of this, he tells them, that those 
who were imitators and followers of Paul would pray 
for them, now that Paul was gone. 


But to proceed to the more immediate subject of 
our inquiry : what was St. Chrysostom's faith, and what 
liis practice with regard to the Virgin Mary ? Is she 
made an exception ? 

For the dignity to which it pleased the Almighty to 
raise her, that she should be the motlier of our liord, 
St. Chrysostom held the Virgin's memory in rever- 
ence, and very strenuously does he maintain that she 
remained a virgin unspotted to the day of her death. 
But, whilst he professes no sentiments of honour 
towards her which a true and enlightened member 
of the Church of England would not profess, he at 
the same time speaks of her conduct on one occasion, 
and of her knowledge and state of mind generally 
with regard to our Saviour, in terms which few mem- 
bers of our Church would employ. 

Chrysostom generally calls the Virgin, simply, 
Mary ; seldom adding any epithet expressive of her 
sanctity and blessedness. He never calls her " Mother 
of God." He declares her to be a pure and unpolluted 
virgin,* and finds in the Old Testament types and 
figures by which her office was foreshadowed. In one 
place,! he tells us that Eden signifying a virgin-land, 

* Vol. iii. p. 16. f Vol. iii. p. 113. 


in which God without the work of man planted a 
garden, prefigured the Virgin, who, without knowing 
a man, brought forth Christ. In another,* he consi- 
ders Eve, and the tree of knowledge, and death, when 
man by transgression fell, to correspond with Mary, 
and the tree of the cross, and our Lord's death, which 
gained for us the victory; that, as a virgin's fault 
caused us to be expelled from paradise,f so by the 
instrumentality of a virgin we found eternal life. He 
considers that her superior excellence shewed itself 
in her admirable self-command when, she heard an- 
nounced to her that she should bring forth the Sa- 
viour, behaving with exemplary modesty, instead of 
being transported by a sudden burst of excessive joy.:|: 
He regards the flight into Egypt as a means of mak- 
ing Mary conspicuous, and a bright object of admira- 
tion. § She was given, he says, |j by tbe angel to the 
care of Joseph, as she was by Christ upon the cross to 
John, in order to protect and defend herself and her 
character from reproach and oppression. 

We must now direct our especial attention to three 
passages in the genuine works of Chrysostom, and 
weigh well the import of his words in each, as indica- 
tions of his general sentiments concerning Mary. 
First, his remarks on our Lord's words at the marriage- 
feast at Cana ; secondly, his account of what took 
place at the cross ; and thirdly, his representation of 
Mary's conduct and our Lord's M^ords on that previous 
well-known occasion when Mary and his brethren 
stood without the house desiring to see Jesus. The 
question will force itself upon our mind. Could Mary 

* Vol. iii. p. 752. f Vol. v. p. 171. 

t Vol. vii. p. 34. § P. 125. || P. 57. 


have been regarded by St. Chrysostom, or by those 
to whom he addressed these sentiments, as she is now 
regarded by the Church of Rome ? 

His account of the miracle of turning water into 
wine Chrysostom thus prefaces:* "No unimportant 
question is propounded to us to-day : when the mother 
of JesAis said, ' TtLe;y \vave \\c> -w\fte,' Ctavst said, ' Wo- 
man, what have I to do with thee ? mine hour is not yet 
come ;' and though he said this, he did what his mo- 
ther suggested. Invoking, therefore. Him himself who 
wrought the miracle, let us then proceed to the solu- 
tion of the difficulty." He then says, " Christ was not 
subjected to the necessity of seasons, for he pre-emi- 
nently assigned to seasons themselves their order ; for 
he was their maker. But John introduces Christ 
using this expression, ' Mine hour is not yet come,' to 
shew that he was not yet manifested to the great 
body of the people, and that he had not as yet the 
full complement of his Apostles : but Andrew with 
P\i\\\p followed \\\m, and lao otlieY. Kay, Tathex, not 
even these all knew him as he ought to be known ; 
not even his mother, nor his brethren. For after his 
numerous miracles the Evangelist says this of his bre- 
thren, ' For neither did his brethren believe in him.' 
But neither did those at the marriage know him ; for 
otherwise they would have come to him, and sought his 
aid in their" want. On this account he says ' Mine 
hour is not yet come.' ' I am not known to those who 
are present ; nay, they do not even know that the wine 
has failed. Suffer them to become aware of this first. 
I ought not to learn this from you ; for you are my 
mother, and you throw suspicion on my miracle. 
Those wbo want it ougiit to come and ask ; not be- 

* Vol. viii. p. 125. 


cause I need this, but that they may receive what is 
done with full acquiescence.' And for what reason 
(some one will say), after saying 'Mine hour is not yet 
come,' and after refusing, did he do what his mother 
said ? Chiefly to afford to gainsayers, and those who 
think him subject to times and seasons, a sufficient de- 
monstration that he was not subject to times. In the 
second place he did it, because he honoured his mo- 
ther ; that he might not appear to contradict her en- 
tirely throughout ; that he might not expose himself 
to the suspicion of weakness ; that he might not in 
the presence of so many put his mother to shame ; for 
she had brought the servants to him. Thus it was 
that, though he said to the woman of Canaan ' It is 
not meet to take the children's bread and give it to 
dogs,' yet he granted the boon afterwards, because 
he was affected by her perseverance. Yea, moreover, 
though he said ' I am not sent but to the lost sheep 
of the house of Israel,' yet afterwards he healed the 
woman's daughter. Hence we learn that, though we 
be unworthy, yet by our perseverance we make our- 
selves worthy to receive. Wherefore, also, his mo- 
ther remained, and wisely brought the servants, so 
that the request might be made by more persons. 
She consequently added, ' Whatsoever he shall say to 
you, do it.' For she knew that the refusal was not from 
want of power, but from the absence of boastful dis- 
play ; and, that he might not seem absolutely to throw 
himself upon the miracle, she therefore brought the 

Chrysostom's assertion, that Mary was not even her- 
self acquainted with our Lord's real character and dis- 
pensation, is by no means confined to this passage ; and 
in some instances it has called forth the animadversion 


of his editors. Thus, in his exposition of the words of 
the Psalmist, which he renders " God shall come ma- 
nifestly, our God, and shall not keep silence,"* " See 
you" (he says) " how he proceeds gradually to open his 
word, and reveal the treasure, and emit a more cheer- 
ing ray, saying ' God shall come manifestly ?' Why I 
when was he not present manifestly ? At his former 
advent. For he came without noise, hidden from 
THE MANY, and for a long time escaping observa- 
tion. Why do I speak of the many, whereas not 
even the Virgin who conceived him knew the in- 
effable MYSTERY, nor even his brethren believed on 
him, nor he who appeared to be his father formed 
any great opinion of him ?" 

The following is Chrysostom's comment upon the 
act of our blessed Saviour when he commended his 
sorrowing mother to his beloved disciple :f 

" But He himself, hanging on the cross, com- 
mends his mother to his disciple, teaching us to 
our last breath to take every affectionate care of 
our parents. Thus, when she unseasonably annoyed 
him, he said, ' What have I to do with thee?' and 
' Who is my mother ? ' But here he shews much 
natural affection, and entrusts her to the disciple 
whom he loved Observe how free from agi- 
tation he does everything, even when hanging on 
the cross;- conversing with his disciple about his 
mother, fulfilling the prophecies, suggesting good 
hope in the thief. .... Now, the women stood by 
the cross ; and the weaker sex appeared the more 
manly. And he himself commends his mother, ' Be- 
hold thy Son.' Oh, for the honour ! With what 

* Yol. y. p. ^2^5 ; Ps. xlix. ox \. t Vol. vVii. p. 505. 


honour does he invest the disciple ! For when he 
was himself going away, he delivers her to the dis- 
ciple to take care of her. For since it was pro- 
bable that she as a mother would grieve, and look 
for protection, he with reason commits her to the 
hands of one who loved him. To him he sajs, ' Be- 
hold thy mother.' This he said to unite them in 
love ; and the disciple, understanding this, took her 
to his own home. But why did he make mention 
of no other woman, though another stood by ? To 
teach us to pay more than common attention to 
our mothers. For as we must not even know those 
parents who oppose themselves in spiritual things, 
so, when they interpose no obstacle in those mat- 
ters, it is riglit to pay tliem every respect, and to 
place them above the rest, because they gave us 
birth, and nourished us, and underwent so many 
thousand dangers. Thus too does he silence the im- 
pudence of Marcion ; for, had He not been born in 
the flesh, nor had a mother, why should he have 
taken sucTi care of her alone ? " 

In his homily on St. Matthew, chap, xii. v. 46, we 
read the comment here quoted. We cannot wonder at 
the Benedictine editor exclaiming, as he does, very 
quaintly in the margin, " Fair words, Chrysostom!"* 
Had a member of the Church of England published 
such sentiments for the first time now, he would 
be reproved, not only by his Roman Catholic con- 
temporaries, but by many of his OM^n communion. 
Could Chrysostom (we may confidently ask) have 
addressed this homily to the faithful Christians of 
his day, if either he or they entertained those sen- 

* Bona verba, Chrysostome I 


timents with regard to the Virgin Mary which are 
professed by our Roman Catholic brethren; had he 
or had the Church then invoked her in supplica- 
tion, or trusted to her intercession, and mediation, 
and advocacy, as the Queen of heaven, in dignity 
and glory and power above the seraphim 1 * 

" What I lately said,* that, if virtue be absent, all 
besides is superfluous ; this is now proved abundantly. 
I was saying, that age, and nature, and the living in a 
wilderness, and all such things, were unprofitable, un- 
less our principle and purpose were good ; but to-day 
we learn something more, that not even the conceiving 
of Christ in the womb, and bringing forth that won- 
derful birth, hath any advantage if there be not virtue : 
and this is especially manifest from this circumstance;! 
' Whilst he was yet speaking,' says the Evangelist, 
' some one says to him. Thy mother and thy brethren 
seek thee ; and he said. Who is my mother, and who 
are my brethren ?':]: Now this he said, not because he 
felt ashamed of his mother, nor with the intention of 
denying her who brought him forth ; for, had he been 
ashamed, he would not have passed through her womb : 
but it was to shew that she would derive no advantage 
from this, unless she did her duty in every thing. For 
what she was then undertaking was the effect of ex- 
cessive ambition; for she wished to shew to the 
people that she commanded and controlled her son, 
she having as yet formed no high opinion of him. Con- 
sequently she comes to him unseasonably. Now see 

* Vol. vii. p. 467. 

+ Even Calvin himself dissents from this viewof Chrysostom, which 
is also that of Ambrose, and says their views are groundless, and un- 
worthy of the piety of the Virgin. — Calvin in loc. vol. vi. p. 1 42. 

J De Sacy adopts the views of Grotius. — Vol. xxix. p. 440. 


the foolish arrogance * both of herself and of them ! 
Whereas they ought to have entered, and heard him 
with the multitude ; or, had thej been unwilling to do 
this, to have waited till he had finished his discourse, 
and then to have approached him ; they call for him 
out : and this they do before all, exhibiting their ex- 
cessive ambition, and wishing to shew that they com- 
manded him with great authority. A point which the 
Evangelist marks with disapprobation; for it was to 
intimate this that he said, ' Whilst he was yet speak- 
ing to the multitude,'- — as much as if he had said 
'What! was there no other opportunity? what! could 
they not have conversed with him in private? and 
what, after all, did they want to say ? If it was on 
the doctrines of the truth, then it was right he should 
propound to all in common, and to speak before all, 
that others also might be benefited. But if it was on 
other subjects, of interest to themselves, they ought 
not to have been thus urgent. For if he would not 
suffer a man to bury his father, that his following of 
Him might not be broken off, much more ought his 
address not to have been interrupted for things which 
were not of interest to him.' Hence it is evident that 
they did this solely out of vain-glory. And John 
shews this, when he says, ' Neither did his brethren 
believe on him ;' and he records some words of theirs, 
full of great folly, when he tells us that they took him 
to Jerusalem, not for any other purpose, but that they 
might themselves derive glory for his miraclesi. ' If 
thou do these things,' said they, ' shew thyself to the 
world, for no one doeth any thing in secret, and seeketh 

* 'Amyoia, vesanaquffidam insolentiaet animi eJatio. — Steph. Thes. 
The Oxford "Library of the Fathers" renders the word "self-confi- 
dence." The Benedictines translate it " arrogantia." 


himself to be conspicuous ;' at which time he rebuked 
them for this, reproving their carnal mind. For when 
the Jews reproached him, saying, ' Is not this the car- 
penter's son, whose father and mother we know; and 
his brethren, are they not among us?' they, wishing 
to get rid of the charge from the meanness of his 
origin, excited him to a display of miracles. He there- 
fore gives them a repulse, wishing to heal their ma- 
lady ; since, had he desired to deny his mother, he 
would surely then have denied her, when they cast 
this reproach. On the contrary, he shews himself to 
have entertained so great care for her, that on the 
very cross he entrusts her to the disciple who was 
his best beloved of all, and leaves many kind injunc- 
tions concerning her. But he does not so now, and 
that because of his care for her and his brethren ; for 
since they approached him as a mere man, and were 
puffed with vain-glory, he expels that disease, not by 
insulting them, but by correcting them. . . . He did 
not wish to excite doubts in the mind, but to remove 
the most tyrannical of passions, and by little and little 
to lead to a correct estimate of himself, and to persuade 
her that he was not only her son, but her sovereign 
Lord. You will thus see that the rebuke was emi- 
nently becoming in him, and profitable to her, and 
withal containing much of mildness. He did not say, 
' jGro, tell the mother she is not my mother ;' but he 
answered him who brought the message thus, ' Who is 
my mother ? ' together with what has been already said ; 
effecting another object, — that neither should they nor 
any others, trusting to their connexions, neglect virtue. 
For if it profited her nothing to be his mother, unless 
that qualification were present, scarcely will any one 
else be saved in consequence of his relationship. There 


is only one nobility of birth, — the doing the will of God. 
This is a kind of good birth far better and nobler than 
the other." 

In the next section, too long to transcribe here 
though its paragraphs contain many sentiments all 
leading to the same point, we read these expressions : 
" When a woman said, ' Blessed is the womb that bare 
thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked,' he does 
not say ' Her womb did not bear me, I sucked not her 
paps ;' but this, ' Yea, rather blessed are they who do 
the will of my Father.' You see how everywhere he 
does not deny the relationship of nature, but he adds 
that of virtue." "The same object he is effecting 
here," (as in his remonstrance with the Jews as children 
of Abraham,) " but less severely, and with more gentle- 
ness; for his speech related to his mother. He did not 
say, ' She is not my mother, they are not my brethren, 
because they do not the will of my Father.' He did 
not pass his sentence, and condemn them ; but left 
them the option, speaking with a considerateness which 
became him, ' He that doeth the will of my Father, 
he is my brother, and sister, and mother; so that, if 
they wish to be such, let them enter upon this path.' 
And when the woman cried out, ' Blessed is the womb 
that bare thee,' he says not, 'She is not my mother;' but, 
' If she wishes to be blessed, let her do the will of my 
Father ; for such a one is my brother, and sister, and 
mother.' Oh, how great an honour! how great is 
virtue ! To what an exalted eminence does it carry 
one who embraces it ! How many women have called 
that holy Virgin and her womb blessed, and have 
longed to be such mothers, and to give up every thing 
besides ! What is there to hinder them ? For behold, 
he has cut out for us a broad way, and it is in the 



power, not of women only, but of men also, to be placed 
in such a rank as that, — rather in a much higher one ; 
for this far more constitutes one his mother, than did 
those labour-pangs. So that if that is a cause for calling 
another blessed, much more is this, in as much as it is 
paramount. Do not then merely desire, but also with 
much diligence walk along the path which leads to the 
object of your desire. Having said this, he went out 
of the house. See you how he both rebuked them, 
and also did what they desired. The same thing also 
he did at the marriage ; for there too he rebuked her 
when she unseasonably applied to him, and yet did not 
refuse ; by the first act correcting her weakness, by the 
second shewing his good-will towards his mother. So 
here also he both, healed the disease of xam-glory, and 
yet rendered becoming honour to his mother, although 
she was preferring an unseasonable request." 

Thus is the testimony of St. Chrysostom beyond con- 
troversy conclusive against the present doctrine of the 
Church of Rome as to the worship of the Virgin Mary, 
and against the practice in his day of placing any reli- 
gious trust in her merits, intercession, and advocacy. 
And this brings us within the commencement of the 
fifth century. 


John Cassian, who was at first one of Chrysostom's 
deacons, afterwards removing to Gaul, was ordained 
priest at Marseilles. He composed many theological 
dissertations in Latin, in which he writes at much 
length on the duty of prayer, and on the objects and 
subjects of a Christian's prayer •, but he speaks only of 

* Leipsic, 1733. 


prayer to God, without any allusion to the present 
influence or advocacy of the Virgin, or of any invoca- 
tion of her to be made by Christians.* 

In his treatise on the Incarnation of Christ,f he 
argues against those who would call Mary Christo- 
tocos — mother of Christ, and not Theotocos — mother 
of God ; but he speaks not of any worship due to her 
on that account. His mind was fixed upon the union 
of the divine and human nature in Him who was Son 
of God and Man. 

* Collat. ix. f De Incarn. lib. ii. c. 2. 

I 2 




St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, in Africa, was 
born about a.d. 354, and died at an advanced age in 
the year 430, the very year of the Council of Ephesus, 
to which he was summoned. 

When we recollect how rapidly Pagan superstitions 
invaded the integrity and purity of primitive worship 
after the conversion of Constantino, and how much the 
influence of many unhallowed innovations had min- 
gled itself with the spirit of Christianity (like a little 
leaven leavening the whole lump) when Augustine 
was first initiated into the mysteries of our holy 
religion, our surprise may be great that his works, full 
and noble monuments of Gospel truth, present so few 
stains of an unscriptural and unprimitive character. 
We cannot, indeed, appeal to him as one who, when 
he was compelled to walk in the midst of the furnace, 
yet felt no hurt, and on whose garments the smell of 
fire had not passed. This would have required an 
interposition of the Most High no less miraculous 
than that which preserved tbe three faithful martyrs 
in the furnace of Babylon. But whilst some points 
even in Augustine — indications of fallible man — warn 
us with voices strong and clear to look for our rule of 
faith only to the inspired and written word of God, 

* Paris, 1700. 


to which he himself most constantly appealed, we 
have cause for thankfulness that the great Head of 
the Church raised up at that season this burning and 
shining light ; who, as the servant of the Holy Spirit, 
yet still only as a fallible and an erring brother, will 
continue to enlighten, and guide, and support the 
children of the Church of Christ whilst sacred lite- 
rature has a place on earth. 

Augustine found a large proportion of the Christian 
world leaning decidedly to superstition, and encourag- 
ing the substitution of human learning and of a de- 
generate philosophy for the simplicity of the Gospel. 
From time to time, as occasion offered, he recalled 
his fellow-believers from those superstitions to which 
converts still clung when they professed to resign Pa- 
ganism for Christianity ; and he discountenanced those 
subtle disquisitions, which flattered the pride of our 
nature, but were little in accordance with the truth 
as it is in Jesus. He found many substituting the 
angels and martyrs, of whom they heard in Christian 
churches and read in Christian books, for the gods 
many, and lords many, whom their fathers had served ; 
and some of his most powerful and eloquent composi- 
tions are directed to the counteraction of that evil. 
But he did not so vigorously as he might have done 
set about the utter eradication of the growing bane ; 
and sometimes, in the unrestrained flow of his elo- 
quence, he would himself address the subject of his 
eulogy in such a manner as. to supply arguments from 
his example for the very practices which he disowned. 
The principle on which he professed to act in the 
case of unauthorized novelties in Christian worship 
seems, to a certain extent at least, to have guided 
him generally: "Approve of these things I cannot; 


to reprove them more freely, I dare not."* Still, his 
pure and exalted sentiments on the subject of reli- 
gious worship must have materially tended, within 
the sphere of their influence, to withdraw men's 
minds from all other objects of invocation, and to fix 
them on the one only Supreme God ;f as also to with- 
draw them from all other mediators and intercessors, 
and to fix their hopes on the mediation and inter- 
cession of Christ Jesus our Lord, alone. It may be 
safe and interesting, before we proceed to the imme- 
diate subject of our present inquiry, to recall to our 
minds one or two passages which seem to have this 

In his book on True Religion, he thus speaks : 
" Let not our religion be the \vorsbip of dead men, 
because, if they lived piously, they are not so dispos- 
ed as to seek such honours ; but they wish Him to be 
worshipped by us, who enlightening them, they rejoice 
that we are deemed worthy of being made partakers 

* Vol. ii. p. 142 ; Epist. ad Januarium, Iv. s. 35. 

t It cannot be necessary to refer to those works, formerly ascribed 
to Augustine, which are acknowledged by the best Roman Catholic 
critics to be utterly spurious ; such, for example, as the Book of Medi- 
tations, in which prayer is offered to God through the intercession of 
Mary, and prayer is addressed to Mary herself. It is lamentable to 
find that some Roman Catholic writers are so forgetful of the princi- 
ples of truth, which should guide us all, as even in the present day to 
quote passages from such works as evidence of Augustine's faith. See 
Kirk and Berrlngton, p. 445. That these are spurious works, see 
the Benedictine editor's admonition, Appendix to vol. vi. p. 103. 

In the quotation above referred to as made by Kirk and Berrington, 
it is painful to observe, that, whereas they quote in other cases from 
the Benedictine edition which pronounces this quotation to be a for- 
gery, they here refer to the Paris edition of 1586, without even 
alluding to any doubt as to the testimony being genuine. 

t Vol. i. p. 786. 


with them; they are to be honoured then on the 
ground of imitation, not to be adored on the ground of 
religion ; and if they lived ill, wherever they be, they 
must not be worshipped. 

" That object which the highest angels worship, is to 
be also worshipped by the lowest man ; because the 
very nature of man becomes the lowest by not wor- 
shipping that object. For angels and men have not 
different sources of wisdom and truth, but both derive 
what they possess from one unchangeable wisdom and 
truth ; for this very thing was done for our salvation 
in the dispensation of time, that the very excellence of 
God, and the wisdom of God, unchangeable, and con- 
substantial with the Father and coeternal, should 
vouchsafe to take upon himself human nature, through 
which he might teach us that the object to be wor- 
shipped by men is to be worshipped by every intelli- 
gent and rational creature. This also we may believe, 
that the most perfect angels themselves, and the most 
excellent servants of God, wish that we with them- 
selves should worship God, in the contemplation of 
whom they are blessed. For neither are we blessed 
by seeing an angel, but by seeing the truth; by which 
also we love the angels, and rejoice with them. Nor 
are we envious because they enjoy it (the truth) more 
readily, or without any annoyances to interrupt them ; 
but we love them the more, because we are command- 
ed to hope for some such blessing from our common 
Lord. Therefore we honour them with love, not with 
service. Nor do we build temples to them ; for they 
are unwilling so to be honoured by us, because they 
know that, when we are good, we are ourselves as tem- 
ples of the most high God. Well therefore it is 
written, that a man was forbidden by an angel to adore 


him ; but [he must adore] that one Lord under whom 
he also would be his fellow-servant. 

" Behold, I worship one God — the one principle of 
all things, and the Wisdom by which whatever soul is 
wise is wise, and that gift by which whatever is blessed 
is blessed. Whichever of the angels loves this God, I am 
sure he loves me ; whoever abides in Him, and can be 
sensible of human prayer, in Him he hears me; whoever 
regards Him as his good, in Him he assists me ; nor can 
he be envious of my participation of Him. Let the 
adorers or the adulators of parts of the universe tell 
me what good being does not that man conciliate to 
himself who worships that one object which every 
good being loves, in the knowledge of whom he re- 
joices, and by having recourse to whom, as his prin- 
ciple, he becomes good." 

Nor do we think it possible to conceive that St. 
Augustine looked to any other mediation or interces- 
sion than Christ's only. His comment on the words 
of St. John he could never surely have left without any 
modification or explanation, had he been accustomed 
to pray to God, trusting in the mediation of the Virgin 
Mary, or of any other than the Lord Jesus alone : 

" ' We have an advocate with the Father.' Ye see 
John himself preserving humility. Certainly he was a 
righteous and great man, who drank from the bosom 
of the Lord mysterious secrets ; he who, imbibing from 
the breast of the Lord divine truth, uttered, ' In the 
beginning was the Word, and the Word was God.' 
He being such a man said not, ' Ye have an advocate 
with the Father ; ' but, ' If any man sin, we have an 
advocate.' He says not, ' Ye have,' nor ' Ye have 
ME,' nor does he say, ' Ye have Christ himself;' but 
as he puts ' Christ,' not ' himself,' so does he say. 


' We have,' not ' Ye have.' He had rather put him- 
self in the number of sinners, that he might have 
Christ for his advocate, than put himself as an advo- 
cate in Christ's stead, and be found among the proud 
who must be condemned. My brethren, v^e have 
Jesus Christ himself our advocate with the Father — 
he is the propitiation for our sins. . . . But some one 
will say, 'What then, do not holy ones' [sancti] ' pray for 
us ? What then, do not the bishops and chiefs pray 
for the people?' Nay, attend to the Scripture, and see 
that the chiefs even commend themselves to the 
people ; for the Apostle says to the people, ' Praying 
at the same time for us also.' The Apostle prays for 
the people, the people pray for the Apostle. We pray 
for you, brethren, bnt pray ye also for iis. Let all the 
members pray mutually for each other, and the Head 
intercede for all." * 

This subject seems to have strongly and deeply 
impressed itself on St. Augustine's mind ; for we find 
him again, in -his refutation of Parmenianus, with refer- 
esnce to the same passage of St. John, thus expressing 
himself, in words which, were they written by a mo- 
dern divine, would be considered as directed expressly 
against the present errors of Rome : 

" John says, ' I write this, that ye sin not.' If it 
should thus have followed, and he had said, ' If any one 
sin, YE have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ 
the righteous, and he is the propitiation for your sins,' 
he might seem, as it were, to have separated himself 
from sinners, so that he might no longer have had need 
of the propitiation which is made by the IMediator sit- 
ting at the right hand of the Father, and interceding 
for us. This truly he would have said, not only proudly, 

* Vol. iii. parts, p. 831. 


but also falsely. But had he thus said, ' This have I 
written to you, that ye sin not ; and, if any man sin, 
ye have me for a mediator with the Father, and I pray 
pardon for your sins, (as Parmenianus in a certain 
place puts the bishop as a mediator between the people 
and God,) who of good and faithful Christians would 
endure him ? Who would regard him as an Apostle 
of Christ, and not as Antichrist ? . . . All Christian men 
mutually commend themselves to each other's prayers. 
But he for whom no one intercedes, whilst he intercedes 
for all, is the one and the true Mediator, of whom the 
type prefigured in the Old Testament is the priest; 
and no one is there found to have prayed for the priest. 
But Paul, though under the Head an especial member, 
yet because he was a member of Christ, and knew that 
the great and true High-priest had not by a figure en- 
tered within the veil into the holy of holies, but by 
express and real truth had for us entered within 
heaven to no imaginary, but to an eternal holiness, — he 
also commends himself to the prayers of the Church : 
he makes not himself a mediator between God and the 
people, but he asks that all the members of Christ's 
body would pray mutually for each other. Since the 
members are mutually anxious for each other, and, if 
one member suffer, all the members suffer with it ; 
and, if one member be glorified, all the members re- 
joice with it ; thus let the mutual prayers of all the 
members yet toiling on the earth ascend to the Head, 
who is gone before us into heaven, in whom is the pro- 
pitiation for our sins. For were Paul a mediator, so 
would his fellow-Apostles be mediators, and thus would 
there be many mediators ; and Paul's reasoning would 
be inconsistent with himself, by whicli he said, ' There 


is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, 
the man Christ Jesus.'" ''^ 

These are by no means solitary passages : the works 
of St. Augustine breathe the same spirit throughout. 
We need not, however, be detained by a reference 
to more than one other passage. In his Confes- 
sions :f " Whom could I find who could reconcile 
me to thee ? Was I to betake myself to the angels ? — 
With what prayer ? By what sacraments ? . . . The 
Mediator between God and man must have somewhat 
of the likeness of God, and somewhat of the likeness of 
man ; lest, being in both cases like man, he might be 
far from God ; or, being in both like God, he might be 
far from man, and so would not be a mediator. . . . 
The true Mediator, whom by thy secret mercy thou 
hast shewn to the humble, and whom thou hast sent, 
that by his example they might learn humility, that 
Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ, appear- 
ed between sinful mortals and the righteous and im- 
mortal One. . . . How didst thou love us, O good Fa- 
ther, who sparedst not thine only Son, but didst deliver 
him for us ungodly men ! Deservedly is mj hope 
strong in this, that thou wilt heal all my infirmities by 
Him who sitteth at thy right hand and intercedes with 
thee for us ; otherwise I should despair." 

Is it possible to conceive that this holy man, when 
he presented bis prayers to the blessed and eternal 
Trinity, carried with him in his heart, or on his tongue, 
the advocacy or intercession of any being, angel, saint, 
or Virgin, save only the eternal Son of God and man ? 

* Vol. is. p. 34. t Vol. i. pp. 193, 194. 



But we must now inquire specifically what were St. 
Augustine's sentiments and belief and practice with re- 
gard to the Virgin Mary, the adoration of her, and 
faith in her merits and intercession. To the question, 
What is Augustine's testimony ? the only answer which 
can fairly be made is this, That, from the first to the 
Jast page of his voluminous works, there is not a single 
expression which would lead us to suppose that he e-ver 
invoked her himself, or was aware of her invocation 
forming any part of the worship of his fellow-Christ- 
ians, either in their public assemblies or their private 
devotions ; nor is there a single expression which 
would induce us to believe that Augustine looked to 
her for any aid, spiritual or temporal, or placed any 
confidence whatever in her mediation or intercession. 
On the contrary, there is accumulated and convincing 
proof that he knew nothing of her worship, let it be 
called dulia or hyperdulia ; that he knew nothing of 
her immaculate Conception, of her Assumption into 
heaven,* or of festivals instituted to her honour; in a 
word, that, though he maintains strong opinions on 
some points left open by our Church, his belief and 
sentiments corresponded in all essential points with the 
belief and sentiments of the Church of England, and 
wjere utterly inconsistent with the present belief and 
practice of the Church of Rome. 

Many of the spurious works ascribed to St. Augus- 
tine contain passages strongly impregnated with er- 

* In another part of this work we refer to the passage (VoJ. ix. 
p. 116) usually quoted to prove that the feast of the Annunciation 
was observed in the Church in the time of Augustine, and shew the 
fallacy of the argument. 


rors, which had their origin in an age long after he 
was taken to his rest ; and such spurious works are 
still quoted, without any intimation of their doubt- 
ful or supposititious character. Thus, in a work 
called " The Manual of Devotion, by Ambrose Lisle 
Phillipps, Esq., of Grace-Dieu Manor," (Derby, 1843,) 
p. 98, the author says, "The ancient Fathers of the 
early Church give us full warrant to apply to the 
blessed Virgin all the passages of Scripture which may 
also be applied to the Church. Thus, the glorious St. 
Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, in the third discourse to 
the catechumens on the Creed, applies the vision of 
St. John the Evangelist in the 12th chapter of the 
Apocalypse, where he sees a woman clothed with the 
sun, and a crown of twelve stars on her head, as re- 
ferring to our blessed Lady. — Vol. vi. Paris, 1837, 
p. 965." 

It is astonishing to find this sermon thus quoted 
as St. Augustine's, when, in the very volume in 
which it is found, the editor prefaces the sermons, of 
which this is the third, with such a heading as this 
(p. 930) : " Here follow three other sermons on the 
Creed, which by no means present to us Augustine, to 
whom hitherto in former editions they have been 
ascribed, but an orator far his inferior in the character 
of his speaking, in learning, and in talent."* 

St. Augustine is not one of those who, either from 
the scantiness of his remains, or the nature of his 
W'orks, might leave us in doubt as to his sentiments : 
he is led in very many of his works to speak of the 

* From the third of these Mr. Phillipps quotes the above passage, 
as though it were acknowledged to be St. A ugustine's, without any al- 
lusion to its condemnation as a spurious work in the very edition to 
which ho refers. 


Virgin Mary, her nature, her office, and her character, 
both directly and incidentally. On two subjects, of 
especial interest to him, to which he is constantly and 
fully reverting, he is led to speak of her in every 
variety of light; the one subject is the Incarnation 
of the Son of God, the other is the institution of 
the life of Virginity by professed and devoted vir- 
gins ; a life which, he says, originally derived its 
dignity from her.* St. Augustine, then, strongly 
maintains that Mary was a devoted virgin before the 
Angel's salutation, and that so she remained through 
her whole life to her death, never having lived with 
Joseph as her husband ; and that those who are called 
his brethren were relatives of Mary. He considers 
Mary a bright example of religious and moral excel- 
lence, especially to those who devoted themselves to a 
virgin life ; nay, foe the honour of our Lord, he 
wishes no question to be ever entertained as to sinful- 
ness in Mary.f In making a spiritual and typical ap- 
plication of the words in Genesis, " that a mist," or, as 
he calls it, a fountain, " sprang up, and watered the 
whole face of the earth ;" having stated that by the 
face was meant the dignity of the earth, he says, that 
the fountain represented the Holy Spirit, the garden 
the will of God, the man to till it was Christ, and the 
face of the earth was Mary, of whom it was said " The 

* Vol r. p. 396. 

\ Vol. X. p. 144. "Except therefore the holy Virgin Mary, concern- 
ing whom, for the honour of the Lord, I wish not any question at all 
to be discussed when the subject is on sins ; for how can we tell 
whether a greater portion of grace were not given to her to enable her 
to conquer sin altogether, who was thought worthy to conceive and 
bring forth Ilim who it is certain had no sin ? Except this Virgin only, 
if we could collect all the holy men and holy women who ever lived 
here, would they not confess, ' If we say that we have no sin, we de- 
ceive ourselves ?'" 


Holy Spirit shall overshadow thee." He says, that, 
with Elizabeth and Anna, she was one of the few re- 
corded in the New Testament as having prophesied. * 
He says that her question, " How shall this be, seeing 
I know not a man?" did not imply a want of faith in 
her, but only a desire to know what would be God's 
good pleasure ; and he contrasts this question of Mary 
with the question of Zacharias, f which, though the 
same in sound, was, he says, far different in spirit. He 
says that she conceived Christ in her soul by faith, be- 
fore she conceived him in her womb. He calls her 
the Virgin Mary, the holy Mary ; | a virgin when she 
conceived, when she brought forth, when she died ; the 
mother of the Lord. But he never uses the term 
Mother of God. 

He speaks of Mary dying, ^ but he alludes not to her 
Assumption. He speaks of the Conception || of her by 
her father and mother, but he expressly says she was 
herself conceived and born in sin ; though she herself 
conceived without spot or stain of sin, and gave birth 
to the sinless Saviour. Instead of representing Mary 
as the Bride and Spouse of the Almighty, (a title now, 
alas ! too commonly applied to her by our Roman Ca- 
tholic brethren,) Augustine represents her as the 
chamber only,^ in which the Divine Word was as a 
Bridegroom united with his human nature as his bride. 
He considers the tradition which represents Mary as 
having been the daughter of Joachim, of the tribe of 
Levi, as drawn from an apocryphal source by Faustus ;** 
and if he were induced to regard Joachim as her father 

* Vol. vii. p. 488. + Vol. V. p. 1167. 

J Vol. V. p. 251. § Vol. vi. p. 289. 

II Vol. iv. p. 241 ; and Vol. x. p. 654 ; and Vol. iii. part i. p. 268. 

IT Vol. iii. part ii. p. 354. ** Vol. viii. p. 427. 


at £ill, he would consider liim as not appertaining to 
the sacerdotal tribe of Levi, but the regal tribe of 

He tells us that Angels adore the flesh of Christ * 
sitting at the right hand of the Father ; but for any re- 
joicing of the Angels on Mary's admission to heaven, 
such as the Roman service on the day of her Assump- 
tion asserts, we look in Augustine's works in vain. 


But it will be more satisfactory to quote at length 
some passages which secra to embody his sentiments 
on the subject of our inquiry : many such there are, 
edifying and interesting in themselves, as well as va- 
luable testimonies to the point at issue. The question 
will repeatedly force itself on the reader of St. Au- 
gustine, Could this writer have suppliantly invoked 
Mary? Could he have hoped for acceptance with God 
through her intercession? Could he have relied on 
her merits and intercession ? If, for example, we ex- 
amine his treatise on the 12th verse of the 2nd chapter 
of St. John, " After this He went down to Capernaum, 
he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples," 
we read these sentiments :f " You will find that all the 
relatives of Mary are brethren of Christ. But the 
disciples were still more his brethren, for even those 
relatives would not have been his brethren had they 
not been his disciples ; and without cause would they 
have been his brethren, had they not acknowledged 
their brother for their master. For in a certain place, 
when his mother and his brethren were announced to 
him as standing without, and he was speaking with his 

* Vol. V. p. 970. t Vol. iii, part ii. p. 369. 


disciples, he said, ' Who is my mother, and who are my 
brethren ?' and stretching forth his hand to his disciples 
he said, ' These are my brethren ; and whosoever will 
do the will of my Father, he is my mother, and 
brother, and sister.' Therefore was also Mary, because 
she did the will of the Father. In her the Lord mag- 
nified this, that she did the will of the Father, not 
that flesh gave birth to flesh. Attend to this, my 
dear friends. Wherefore, when the Lord seemed the 
object of admiration in a crowd, working signs and 
wonders, and shewing what was hidden in his flesh, 
some souls admiring him said, ' Happy the womb that 
bare thee !' and he answered, ' Yea, happy are they who 
hear the word of God and keep it.' This is to say. 
Even my mother, whom you call happy, is therefore 
happy because she keeps the word of God, not because 
in her the Word was made flesh, and dwelt in us ; but 
because she keeps the Word of God, by which she was 
made, and because it was made flesh in her. Let not 
men rejoice in their temporal offspring ; let them leap 
for joy if they are in Spirit joined to God." 

Tlius, too, at tbe commencement of his book on 
Holy Virginhood, he comments on the same pas- 
sage : * " What else does he teach us but to prefer 
our spiritual family to our carnal relationship ? and 
that men are not blessed because they are joined to 
just and holy men by kindred, but if they are united 
with them by obeying and imitating their instruc- 
tions and moral character. Consequently Mary was 
more blessed by receiving the faith of Christ, than 

by conceiving the flesh of Christ Finally, 

what did their relationship profit his brethren, — that 
is, his relatives according to the flesh, — who did not 

* Vol. vi. p. S42. 



believe in him? So also the near relationship of 
a mother would have profited Mary nothing, unless 
she had carried Christ more happilj in her heart than 

in the flesh He, the offspring of one holy virgin is 

the ornament of all holy virgins ; and they together 
with Mary are mothers of Christ, if they do his 
Father's will : hence also Mary is in a more praise- 
worthy and blessed manner the mother of Christ. 
He spiritually exhibits all these relationships in the 
people whom he has redeemed ; he regards as his 
brothers and sisters holy men and holy women, be- 
cause they are joint-heirs in the heavenly inherit- 
ance. The whole Church is his mother, because she 
truly bears by the grace of God his members, that is, 
his faithful ones. So likewise every pious soul is his 
mother, doing the will of his Father with most fruitful 
love, in those whom she brings forth, until He be 
formed in them. Mary, therefore, doing the will of 
God is bodily only the mother of Christ, but spiritually 
his mother and his sister." * 

In his comment on our Lord's address to his mother 
at the marriage-feast, Augustine deems it necessary to 
refute the false inferences of two very opposite classes 
of men : first, those who maintained from the words 
" Woman, what have I to do with thee ?" that Mary 
was not the mother of the Lord Jesus ; and, secondly, 
thqse fatalists (mathematicians, as he calls them), who 
alleged his last words, " Mine hour is not yet come," 
in proof that our Saviour was under the necessity of 
destiny. In his refutation of the latter error, we find 
nothing which needs to be quoted here. In his an- 
swer to the former misbelievers, St. Augustine's words 
may help us in forming a correct view of the habitual 

* Vol. Yi. p. 343. 


sentiments entertained by him of Mary and of her 
office and character. 

"The Lord "when invited came to a marriage.* What 
marvel that he should go into that house to a marriage, 
who came into this world for a marriage ? For, had 
he not come to a marriage, he would not have had a 
bride. He has a bride whom he redeemed by his 
blood, and to whom he gave the Holy Spirit as a 
pledge. He rescued her from the thraldom of the 
devil ; he died for her transgressions ; he rose again 
for her justification. Who will offer so much to his 
bride? Let men offer any adorning presents of the 
earth, gold, silver, precious stones, horses, slaves, fields 
and farms ; will any one offer his own blood ? . . . . But the 
Lord, secure in his death, gave his own blood for her, 
whom at his resurrection he might have, whom he had 
already united to himself in the Virgin's womb. For the 
Word is the bridegroom, and his human flesh is the 
bride ; and both are one Son of God, and the same the 
Son of man. When he was made th e head of the Church, 
that womb of the Virgin Mary was the bridecbamber : 
then he went out as a bridegroom out of his cham- 
ber. As the Scripture saith, ' He went as a bride- 
groom out of his chamber, and rejoiced as a giant to 
run his course', — he went from his chamber as a bride- 
groom, and being invited he came to a marriage. f For 
some undoubted mystery, he seems not to acknowledge 
the mother from whom he proceeded as a bridegroom.:}: 

Why then does the Son say to the mother, 

' What have I to do with thee ? Mine hour is not yet 
come ?' Our Lord Jesus Christ was both God and 
man ; in that he was God, he had no mother ; in that 
he was man, he had. She, therefore, was the mother 
of his fiesh, the mother of his humanity^ the mother of 

* Vol. iii. pt. ii. p. 354. f P. 355. % P. 357. 

u 2 


the infirmity which he took upon him for our sakes. 
But the miracle which he was about to perform, he 
was about to perform according to his divinity, not 
according to his infirmity ; in that he was God, not in 
that he was born a weak man. But the weakness of 
God is stronger than man. His mother required him 
to perform a miracle, but he, as it were, does not 
acknowledge his human origin ""'■ when about to effect 
a divine work ; as though he said, ' That part of me 
which works the miracle, thou didst not give birth to. 
It was not thou that gavest birth to my divinity : but, 
because thou gavest birth to my infirmity, I will 
then acknowledge thee when that infirmity shall hang 
upon the cross.' For this is the meaning of ' Mine 
hour is not yet come.' For then he acknowledged 
her, who had truly always known her. And, before he 
was born of her, he had known her in predestination ; 
and before he, as God, created her of whom he as 
man was created, he had known his mother : but at a 
certain hour, in a mystery, he does not acknowledge 
her; and at a certain hour, in mystery, he again 
acknowledges her. He then acknowledged her when 
that to which she gave birth was dying : for that was 
not dying by which Mary was made, but that was 
dying which was formed from Mary ; the eternity of 
the Godhead died not, but the infirmity of the flesh 
died. He consequently makes this answer, distinguish- 
ing in the faith of the disciples who it was that came, 
and by what way ; for he came by his mother a 
woman, the God and Lord of heaven and earth. In 
that he was the Lord of the world, of the earth, and 
the heaven, he was Lord also of Mary ; in that he 
was the Creator of the heaven and the earth, he was 

* Viscera humana non agnoscit. 


tlie Creator also of Mary : but according to what is 
said, 'Made of a woman, made under the Law,' he 
was the son of Mary ; himself the Lord of Mary and 
the Son of Mary, the Creator of Mary and himself 
created from Mary. Marvel not that he is both Son 
and Lord ; for as of Mary, so also of David, is he 
called the Son ; and of David is he therefore the Son, 
because he is the Son of Mary. In the same manner, 
then, as he is both the Son and Lord of David, — the 
Son of David according to the flesh, the Son of God 
according to his divinity ; so is he the Son of Mary 
according to the flesh, and the Lord of Mary accord- 
ing to his majesty. Therefore, because she was not 
the mother of his divinity, and it was by his divinity 
that the miracle was about to be performed, he an- 
swered ' What have I to do with thee V But do not 
think that I shall deny thee as my mother ; for then 
I will acknowledge thee when the weakness of which 
thou art the mother shall begin to hang upon the 
cross.' Let us test the truth of this. When the 
Lord suffered, (as the same Evangelist says, who had 
known the mother of the Lord, and who even at this 
marriage-feast introduced the mother of the Lord to 
us,) himself relates, 'there was about the cross the 
mother of Jesus ; and Jesus said to his mother, 'Woman, 
behold thy Son,' and to the disciple, 'Behold thy 
mother.' He commends his mother to his disciple ; 
he who was about to die before his mother, and to rise 
again before his mother's death, commends his mother ; 
— as a human being, he commends to a human being 
a human being. This had Mary brought forth. That 
hour was then already come of which at that time he 
had spoken, ' Mine hour is not yet come.' " 

We cannot but observe an essential difference, 


constantly forcing itself upon our notice, between the 
manner in which St. Augustine employs the funda- 
mental truth, that the Son of God was born the Son 
of man of the Virgin-mother of her substance, and the 
turn generally given to it by Roman Catholic writers. 
They employ the truth to exalt Mary, aud draw om 
minds to a contemplation of her exalted nature, and 
excite our praise towards her : Augustine, to fix our 
thoughts on the atonement, to excite in us a lively 
faith in Him alone, and to fill our hearts with thanks- 
giving and praise. He is ever drawing away our 
minds from the means to the end, and from the in- 
strument to the eternal agent,— from Mary to God. 
Thus : " Mary believed, and what she believed was 
effected lu her. Let u.s believe, also, that v^liat ^vas 
effected may be profitable to us also."* Then, again, 
in a sermon on the Nativity -.f " Therefore, that Day, 
even the Word of God, the Day which shineth on 
angels, the Day which shineth in that country whence 
we are sojourners, clothed himself with flesh, and is born 
of a Virgin. . . . We were mortals, we were oppressed 
by our sins, we were bearing our own punishment. . . . 
Christ is born— let no one doubt to be born again ; 
let His mercy be poured in owr hearts. His -mother 
bare him in her womb — let us also bear him in our 
heart. The Virgin was filled by the incarnation of 
Christ— let our hearts be filled by faith of Christ. 
The. Virgin brought forth the Saviour— let our soul 
bring forth salvation, let us also bring forth praise. 
Let us not be barren, let our souls be fruitful to God." 
Thus, again, in the discourse, an object of which is 
to reconcile the genealogies of St. Matthew and St. 
Luke, St. Augustine speaks on Mary's modesty, not 

* Vol. V. p. 951. t Vol. Y. p. 890. 


with the view of exalting her, but, as he expressly 
tells us, to train up other women in the same prin- 

" In the first place, brethren, and chiefly for the 
discipline of women, our sisters, so holy a modesty of 
the Virgin Mary must not be passed by. She had 
given birth to Christ ; an angel had come to her, and 
said, ' Behold, thou shalt conceive and bear a son, and 
shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and 
shall be called the Son of the most High.' She had 
been thought worthy to give birth to the Son of the 
Highest, and she was most humble ; nor did she pre- 
fer herself to her husband, not even in the order of 
naming themselves, so as to say, ' I and thy father f but 
she says, ' Thy father and I.' She thinks not of the dig- 
nity of her womb, but of conjugal order; for the 
lowly Christ would not have taught his mother to be 
proud. ' Thy father and I have sought thee sorrow- 
ing.' She says, ' Thy father and I,' because the man is 
the head of the vi^oman. How much less ought other 
women to be proud ? " * 

But so many instances of this habitual reference 
from Mary to God, from her office as mother to our 
duty as Christ's members, present themselves through- 
out the works of St. Augustine, that the difficulty is, 
not to find, but to choose ; not to gather, but to select 
from what we have gathered : and on this immediate 
point we will only add one more specimen. It is from 
a sermon on the Nativity. 

" Deservedly, then, did the prophets announce that 

he should be born ; and the heavens and angels, that he 

was born. He lay in a manger, who held the world ; 

He was an infant, and the Word. Him, whom the 

* Vol. V. p. 291. 


heavens do not contain, the bosom of one woman bare. 
She ruled our Ruler; she carried Him, in whom we 
are : she gave suck to our Bread : O manifested 
weakness, and wondrous humility, in whicli the whole 
Divinity thus lay hid ! The mother to whom in his 
infancy He was subject, He ruled by his power ; and 
her, whose breasts He sucked. He fed with truth. 
May He perfect his gifts in us, who did not abhor to 
take on himself our origin ! may He himself make us 
the sons of God, who for our sakes willed to become 
Son of man !"* 


We have dwelt already so long upon the sentiments 
of St. Augustine, that we need not be detained further 
on this branch of our evidence ; but we cannot antici- 
pate the regret of any one at our closing with another 
passage, in itself most animating and uplifting to the 
Christian, and at the same time, though not so fully 
and in detail as other parts of his works, yet virtually 
presenting to us the habitual sentiments of the great 
master of the Christian Israel, whose testimony we 
have been examining, on the nature of Angels, and 
on the part to which the Virgin Mary was called in 
the work of our redemption. The following are his 
remarks on the words of the 149th Psalm, " He hath 
made" them fast for ever and ever. He hath given 
them a precept which shall not be broken." f "All 
heavenly things, all things above, all powers and angels, 
a city on high, good, holy, blessed ; from which be- 
cause we are wanderers, we are yet miserable; and 
whither because we are about to return, we are blessed 
* Vol. V. p. 882. f Vol. iv. p. 1676. 


in hope ; and whither when we shall have returned, we 
shall be blessed in deed. What precept do you 
think the heavenly beings and holy angels have? 
What precept did God give to them ? What, except 
to praise him ? Blessed are they whose business it is 
to praise God. They plough not, they sow not, they 
grind not, they dress not food ; for these are works of 
necessity, and no necessity is there. They steal not, 
they plunder not, they commit not adultery ; for these 
are works of iniquity, and no iniquity is there. They 
break not bread to the hungry, they clothe not the 
naked, the stranger they take not in, they visit not the 
sick, they reconcile not the contentious, they bury not 
the dead; these are works of mercy, and no misery 
on which mercy might be shewn is there. O blessed 
ones ! Do we think we shall be thus ? Ah ! let us 
sigh for it, and from a sigh let us groan. And what 
are we that we might be there ? Mortals, cast forth, 
cast away, — earth and ashes. But He who promised is 
omnipotent. If we look to ourselves, what are we ? 
If we look to Him, He is God, He is omnipotent. 
Will not He make an angel of a man, who made man 
of nothing ? Or would God esteem man for nought, 
for whom he was willing that his only Son should die ? 
Let us look to the proof of his love. We have re- 
ceived such an earnest of God's promise. We hold fast 
the death of Christ ; we hold fast the blood of Christ. 
Who died ? The only One. For whom did he die ? 
We might have wished it had been for the good — for the 
just ! But what ? Christ, says the Apostle, died for the 
ungodly. He who gave his own death for the ungodly, 
what does he preserve for the righteous but his own 
life? Let then human weakness lift itself; let it not 
despair, nor crush itself, nor turn itself away, nor say, 'I 


slialVnot be.' He who promised is God, and he came 
that he might promise ; he appeared to man, he came 
to take upon himself our death, to promise his life. 
He came to the country of our sojourn to receive here 
what here abounds, — reproaches, scourging, smiting on 
the cheek, spittings in the face, revilings, a crown of 
thorns, hanging on the tree, the cross, death. . . . These 
things abound in our country, and to such treatment 
he came. What did he give here ? What did he re- 
ceive here ? He gave exhortation, he gave doctrine, 
he gave remission of sins : he received reproaches, the 
cross, and death. He brought from that country good 
things to us, and in our country he endured evils. Yet 
he promised us tliat we should be there, whence he 
came ; and he says, ' Father, I will that where I am, 
there may they also be.' So great ^ove went before. 
Because, where we were, he was with us ; where he is, 
we shall be with him. O mortal man ! what hath God 
promised thee ? That thou shalt live for ever. Thou 
dost not believe ! Believe,' believe ! What he hath 
done already is more than what he has promised. 
What has he done? He has died for tbee. What 
has he promised ? That thou shalt live with Him. It 
is harder to believe that the Eternal One died, than 
that a mortal should live for ever. We have that al- 
ready which it is the harder to believe. If for man's 
sake. God died, shall not man live with God? Shall not 
a mortal live for ever, for whose sake He who is eternal 
died? But how did God die? and whence did God 
die ? and can God die ? He took from thee that 
whence he might die for thee. He could not die, ex- 
cept as flesh ; he could not die, except as a mortal body. 
He clothes himself where he might die for thee ; he will 
clothe thee where thou mayest \\\e ^^ith bm. "Where 


did he clothe himself with death? In the Virginity 
of his Mother. Where will he clothe thee with life ? 
In the equality of his Father. Here he chose for him- 
self a CHASTE CHAMBER, where he might be united, a 
bridegroom, with his bride. The Word was made 
flesh, that he might be the Head of the Church. For 
the Word Himself is not part of the Church ; but 
took upon himself flesh that he might be the Head of 
the Church. Somewhat of ours is already above, 
namely, what he received here, where he died and was 
crucified. Already have certain first-fruits of thine 
gone before, and dost thou doubt that thou shalt 

The evidence of St. Augustine brings us into the 
second quarter of the fifth century. 



SECTION I.— ST. JEROME, a.d. 418.* 

In the estimation of Roman Catholic writers, the 
name of Jerome, " the greatest master of the 
Churches," stands among the highest, if not the very 
highest, of the early Fathers of the Christian Church. 
He was born in an obscure town, as his biographer as- 
sures us, he was nourished from his cradle with the 
pure milk of Catholic truth.-]- He was "the friend 
and the oracle of Pope Damasus, and was joined (as the 
Roman writers say,) in an indissoluble communion with 
the Roman See :" and, by the canon law of Rome, not 
only are his books received implicitly, but of the works 
of others, such as Ruffinus and Origen, those only are 
stamped with authority which " the blessed Jerome 
does not reject." Nay, in the Epistle Dedicatory to 
Clement XII. Jerome is declared to have been pro- 
nounced by the unanimous voice of Rome, to be wor- 
thy of the highest sacerdotal dignity, even the chair of 
Peter itself; but he preferred the silence and retire- 
ment of a hermit's life. It is impossible for any one 
engaged in an inquiry into the belief and practice of 
the primitive Church, whatever be the immediate sub- 
ject of investigation, not to look with more than ordi- 

* The references are made to the admirable Benedictine edition of 
Jerome, published at Verona, from 1734 to 1742, in 11 vols. fol. 
f See his Life, vol. xi. p. 14. 

JEROME. 301 

nary interest and anxiety to the sentiments of Jerome ; 
and on the question before us we must attach still 
greater importance to his testimony, from the circum- 
stance that the state and condition of the Virgin 
Mary, as the Mother of our Lord, repeatedly formed 
the subject both of his discussions with those whose 
opinions he controverted, and of his instruction to those 
wbo esteemed him as their teacher in Christian doc- 
trine. And what is the character of that evidence ? 
From the very first to the very last page of his volu- 
minous works, embracing eYerj variety of theological 
subjects, not one single expression occurs, we do not 
say, to warrant the conclusion that Jerome looked witti 
faith to the intercession of the Virgin, or ever invoked 
her aid or her prayers ; but which would even imply 
his knowledge that any dependence on her interces- 
sion, or any invocation of her aid, prevailed in any part 
of the Catholic Church in his day. His works have 
been most diligently searched, and ransacked, with the 
view of finding some countenance in them for those 
practices which we call the innovations and corrup- 
tions of later times. But the search is made in vain. 
The evidence of this celebrated Father is all one way, 
and is totally incompatible with the supposition that 
his belief and practice coincided with the belief and 
practice of the Church of Rome, as fixed by the Coun- 
cil of Trent, as enjoined and exemplified in her autho- 
rised formularies and rituals, and as exhibited in the 
devotional works of her most approved authors. In- 
deed, we cannot discover that any of the most laborious 
and zealous defenders of that hyperdulia which is now 
professedly paid to the Virgin, has cited a single pas- 
sage from Jerome in its favour. And this is the more 
remarkable, because on some points, which many theo- 


logians have considered as open questions, he is naore 
than usually energetic in maintaining the Virgin's dig- 
nity. For example, he strenuously asserts that she 
was never the wife of Joseph; that those who are 
called in the Gospel " Christ's brethren," were not her 
children ; that to the day of her death she remained 
the same pure and immaculate Virgin as she was be- 
fore the birth of the Saviour. In a letter to Pamma- 
chius, written with a view to defend himself against 
the charge of having, in his zeal for the state of virgin- 
hood, spoken disparagingly of marriage, he employs 
this language : " When anything in my work appears 
harsh to you, look not to my words, but to the Scrip- 
ture, from which my words are taken. Christ is a 
Virgin; the Mother of our Virgin [masculine] is a 
perpetual Virgin ; Holy Mary is Mother and Virgin — 
a Virgin after the birth, a mother before her nuptials.* 
To those questions, which have since been pursued 
with far more of curiosityf and presumption than of 
humility and delicacy, we shall not allude. The Church 
of England, by keeping a solemn and pious silence on 
those mysteries in our blessed Lord's incarnation, has 
plainly indicated to her faithful children her mind and 
will that they should abstain from such bold and pro- 
fitless speculations, and, practically applying the prin- 

* Epist. 48 (otherwise 50), written probably A. 0.393; vol. i. p. 231 , 
t The Benedictine editor on Jerome's fourteenth Homily on St. 
Luke, (vol. vii. p. 289,) aware that Jerome's words were at variance 
•with the opinions wMch have htwa. sedvilciisly piopagated \>y Roman 
writers of comparatively recent dates, refers to one of these points with 
painful illustrations ; points these, the discussion of which can in no 
■way benefit either our head or our heart, and can neither increase our 
knowledge of Gospel verity, nor strengthen our faith in Christ. This 
editor includes TertuUian, Basil, Ambrose, and Athanasius in the 
same charge of error with Jerome. 

JEROME. 303 

ciple of Jerome (which he sometimes seems to have 
himself forgotten), not to proceed a single step fur- 
ther in these subjects than the Scripture itself may 
seem to lead us by the hand. 

Jerome repeatedly propounds Mary as an example 
to be followed by all virgins, but it is in words very 
far removed from the language of one who would ad- 
dress her by invocation. 

Thus, in a letter written about the year a. d. 403, * 
to Loeta, on the education of her daughter, he says, 
"Let her imitate Mary, whom Gabriel found alone in 
her chamber ; and perhaps for this very reason was she 
terrified, because she beheld a man, whom she was not 
accustomed to see." 

Thus too, in his epistle to Eustochium, written 
about twenty years before, f in which he says " Death 
came by Eve, and Life by Mary;" and in which he 
calls his correspondent the spouse of God, and bids her 
follow the example of Mary, the sister of Lazarus, who 
preferred Christ's doctrine to her food ; after cautioning 
Eustochium not to follow the example of those who 
gave their minds to worldly affairs, he proceeds : " Let 
us follow the example of better persons. Propose to 
yourself the blessed Mary, who was of so great purity 
as to be thought worthy to be the mother of the Lord; 
who, when the angel Gabriel, in the form of a man, 
came down to her, saying, ' Hail Mary, full of grace, the 
Lord is with thee,' being confounded and terrified, 
could not answer, for she had never been saluted by a 
man. At length she learned that he was a messenger, 
and speaks ; and she who was afraid of a man, con- 
verses freely with an angel." And then so far from 

* Epist. 107, p. 679. t Epist- 22, vol. i. p. 120. 


fixing the reader's mind on Mary, as though she were 
the chief subject of his thoughts, he assures his female 
correspondent, that by the same purity of mind and 
body she might herself also become the mother of the 
Saviour;* and, still withdrawing the mind from Mary, 
he exclaims, " The labour is great, but the prize is 
great, to be what the martyrs are, what the apostles are, 
what Christ is." 

In another letter which he wrote about the year 405, 
to a mother and a daughter who were at variance, and 
whom he enjoins to be reconciled, he thus speaks : | 
" Mother and daughter, names of piety, words signi- 
ficant of duties, the bonds of nature, an alliance second 
after God ! It is no praise if you love, it is wickedness 
that you hate. The Lord Jesus was subjected to his 
parents. He revered his mother, of whom he was him- 
self the Father ; he honoured his nourisher, the man 
whom he had nourished ; and he remembered that he 
had been carried in the womb of one, and in the arms 
of the other. Whence also, when hanging on the 
cross, he commends to his disciple the parent whom, 
before the cross, he had never sent away." 

Whilst Jerome, both in his comments on holy Scrip- 
ture and in his treatise called Hebrew Questions,^ ap- 
plies some passages to the Virgin Mary, which most 
commentators, ancient and modern, interpret of Christ, 
he applies to the Saviour himself the celebrated pas- 
sage in Genesis, which the Vulgate translates so as to 
apply it to Mary, " He shall bruise thy head ;" not, as 
the Vulgate renders it, " She shall bruise thy head ;" 
adding, " Because our steps are hindei-ed by the ser- 

* Potes et tu esse Mater Domini. 

t Epist. 117, vol. i. p. 777. 

X Vol. ix. p. g8, and vol. iii. p. 309. 

JEROME. 305 

pent, and the Lord shall bruise Satan under our feet 

On the other hand, on Isaiah, xi. 1,* " A branch 
shall come out from the stem of Jesse, and a flower 
shall grow from his root," Jerome says, " The branch is 
the mother of our Lord, simple, pure, sincere, with no 
external germ, and, after the likeness of God, fruitful 
in herself alone. The ilower of the branch is Christ, who 
says, ' I am the flower of the field, and the lily of the 
valley ; ' who also in another place is spoken of as ' a 
stone cut from the mountain without hands ;' the Pro- 
phet signifying that a "virgin" [masculine] "should 
spring from a virgin." 

In his translation of one of Origen's Homilies on St. 
Luke, I having stated that Elizabeth was not filled 
with the Holy Spirit till she had conceived John, he 
thus illustrates his meaning, by referring to what of a 
similar nature was known of the Saviour : " Mary was 
filled with the Holy Ghost then, when she began to 
hold the Saviour in her womb; for immediately that 
she received the Holy Spirit, the framer of our Lord's 
body, and that the Son of God began to be in her 
womb, herself also was filled with the Holy Ghost.^' 

In his comment on Ezekiel, xliv. 1,| Jerome consi- 
ders the closed gate to mean the Word of God, the 
knowledge of God, or Paradise ; and, after giving his 
own view, he tells us that some beautifully interpreted 
it of the Virgin Mary, who before and after the na- 
tivity was a virgin. 

In his prologue to Zephaniah, he says, § " I say no- 
thing of Anna and Elizabeth, and other holy women, 

* Vol. i. p. 101, and vol. iv. p. 155. 

t Horn. vii. vol. vii. p. 263. t Vol. v. p. 535. 

§ Yo\.^i. p. 671. 


whose little fires (as of stars) the clear light of Mary 
hides." And, in another place, he represents the holi- 
ness of Zachariah and Elizabeth to be inferior to 

He calls her a prophetess, the mother of the 
Saviour, the holy and blessed mother of the Lord ; 
and he speaks of her who should give birth to 

" O house of David, marvel not at the novelty of the 
fact if a virgin shall bring forth God, Him who hath so 
great power, that though he will be born after a long 
time, yet now when called upon can set thee free ; for 
He it is who appeared to Abraham, and talked with 

He tells us that Mary was chid by our Lord as a 
woman; he calling her, as St. Paul does, not a virgin, 
but a woman : though St. Paul (be says) meant not to 
imply by that expression that she was a married woman. 
Jerome, in his comment on Jeremiah, c. xxxi. v. 22, 
" A woman shall compass a man," though he speaks of 
the Saviour's miraculous conception and birth of a 
woman, yet makes no mention of Mary.§ 

St. Jerome was the great encourager and patron 
of the virgin-life, and he is led throughout his 
works to refer to Mary again and again ; but he 
speaks of her only as the Virgin-Mother of our 
Lord. Not one word escapes his pen implying his 
own dependence on her merits and intercession ; not 
the most distant allusion is made to any invocation 
offered to her in his time, either by the assembled 
Church, or by individual Christians in their private de- 
votions. No intimation is given to us of any festival 

* Vol. ii. p. 230. t Vol. vii. pp. 504. 449. 

X Com. on Isaiah, vii. 15 ; vol.iv. p. 111. § Vol.iv. 1069. 

JEROME. 307 

instituted in her honour, of any churches dedicated to 
her name. He alludes not to her miraculous death, or 
to her assumption into heaven. 

He speaks of prayer, but it is prayer only to God ; 
he bids us not to take our food without prayer, never 
to retire from the table without thanksgiving, but it 
must be offered to the Creator."'^ 

We will only quote two more passages ; one, record- 
ing Jerome's sentiments on the object of religious wor- 
ship ;f and another, in which he speaks of Mary in 
a manner totally incompatible with such sentiments 
as our Roman Catholic brethren now entertain, as 
well as with the decree of the Council of Trent : 
" We worship not, nor adore, I do not say, the re- 
liques of Martyrs, but neither the sun, nor the moon, 
nor angels nor archangels, nor cherubin nor seraphin, 
nor any name that is named in the present world or 
in the world to come, lest we serve the creature rather 
than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. We honour 
the reliques of martyrs, that we may adore Him whose 
martyrs they are ; we honour the servants, that the ho- 
nour of the servants may redound to the Lord." 

The Council of Trent declares that the Virgin Mary, 
by the special privilege of God, never was chargeable 
with any sin at all ; and, consistently with the worship 
now offered to her, less could scarcely have been ex- 
pected. But how did the ancient teachers of Chris- 
tianity speak on this point ? We have already seen 
how St. Basil contradicts this notion, in his interpreta- 
tion of Simeon's prophecy to Mary ; and how St. Chry- 

* The words are too beautiful not to be quoted in the original. 
" Nee eibi sumantur, nisi oratione prsemissa ; nee recedatur a mensa, 
nisi referatur Creatori gratia." — Vol. i, p. 1 1 9. 

t Epist. cix. vol.i. p. 720. 

X 2 


sostom agrees with him : — the words of St. Jerome, 
in his translation of Origen's Homily upon the same 
Scripture, are these : * 

" Simeon then says, ' And a sword shall pierce through 
thine own soul also.'f What is that sword which pierced 
through the hearts, not of others only, but also of 
Mary ? It is plainly written, that in the time of the 
passion all the Apostles were offended ; our Lord himself 
also saying, ' All ye shall be offended this night.' 
Therefore all of them together were offended ; so much, 
that Peter also, the chief of the Apostles, denied him 
thrice. What ! do we suppose, that, when fhe Apostles 
were offended, the mother of onr Lord was free from 
the offence ? If she felt not offence at the passion of 
the Lord, Jesus did not die for her sins. But if all 
have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, being 
justified by his grace, and redeemed, surely Mary also 
was offended at that time. And this is what Simeon 
now prophesies, ' Thine own soul also — thine who 
knowest that thou, a virgin, without a husband didst 
bring forth, — who didst hear from Gabriel, ' The Holy 
Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the 
Highest shall overshadow thee,' — shall the sword of un- 
belief pierce through; and thou shalt be struck with the 
point of the weapon of doubt, and thy thoughts shall 
tear and distract thee, when thou shalt see him whom 
thou hast heard to be the Son of God, and whom thou 
knowest to have been conceived without the seed of 
man, crucified and die, and be subject to human pnnish- 

* Horn. xvii. in Luc, vol. vii. p. 300. 

t See Basil and others, who take the same view which Jerome pre- 
sents to us here, and are all included by the Benedictine editors in the 
charge of holding opinions contrary to the doctrines of the Church of 
Home, and of the Council of Trent. 


ments, and at last lamenting with tears, and saying, 'Fa- 
ther, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.' " 

Again, on the passage " When the days of their" 
[so he reads it, eorum] " purification were accomplish- 
ed," he says, " The purification of what persons ? If it 
had been written on account of her purification, that 
is, Mary's, who had brought forth, no question would 
have arisen ; and we should have confidently said, that 
Mary, who was a mortal, needed purification after 
parturition." * 

Again, on the passage " And they understood not 
this saying," Jerome's words are, " Observe this also, 
that, as long as he was in the possession of his Father, 
he was above ; because Joseph and Mary had not yet a 
full faith, therefore they could not remain above with 
him, but he is said to have gone down with them." f 

Whether we regard these as the sentiments adopted 
by Jerome himself from Origen, or as Origen's trans- 
lated by Jerome, and left without any note of disap- 
probation by him, it may be asked, Could these men 
have believed, as the modern Romanists believe, of the 
"Virgin Mary ? Is the faith of the Church of Rome, or 
of the Church of England, the faith of the primitive 
Fathers ? The dissatisfaction evinced by the Bene- 
dictine editor at these " audacious accusations " I of 
Mary (as he calls them) suggests the only answer. — 
The primitive Fathers of the Christian Church did not 

* Horn. xiv. vol. vii. p. 285. t Horn. xx. vol. vii. p. 309. 

X " So true is it," says the Benedictine editor, " that Adamantius 
was guilty of injustice towards the Holy Virgin." In the fourteenth 
homily, he says she needed purification; in the seventeenth ho- 
mily, that she felt scandal and doubt as to her Son ; now much more 
audaciously he accuses her of unbelief and little faith." The correct- 
ness of Origen or of Jerome's view is not the question before us, but 
what their sentiments really were. 


entertain the same thoughts and the same belief as to 
tlie Virgin Mary whicli the Church of Rome now sug- 
gests, and teaches, and requires of her members. 

Surely, bad Jerome felt that Mary was the " ground 
of his hope," had he " invoked her protection and guid- 
ance," had be been aware of such feelings or such 
practices prevailing among his Christian contempo- 
raries, indications of this must have shewn themselves 
in some part or other of his works ; but not a shadow 
of anything of the kind is discoverable. 

This is the testimony of Jerome, who, though born 
about the middle of the fourth century, brings down 
our evidence through some years of the fifth century, 
his death probably not having taken place till the year 
420 ; and some of his epistles being with great reason 
referred to a date so late as a.d. 417, or a.d. 418. 


About this time lived Basil, Bishop of Seleucia. The 
greatness of the number of those who were called by the 
name of Basil renders it very difficult to pronounce of 
any work, published under that name, to whose pen it 
may be safely ascribed. To this Basil, as its author, a 
work is now referred, which cannot stand the test of 
close examination. Dausqueius, the Jesuit, so late as 
the year 1661, was the first who published Basil's works 
in Greek, adding his own Latin translation; and he in- 
forms us that Basil's works had only lately been drawn 
out from their hiding-place; and that Andreas Schottus, 
his brother- Jesuit, had sent a copy to him in Greek.f 
What were the circumstances and the appearance of 
the manuscript, and on what authority he ascribed it 
to this Basil, we know not ; whilst the evidence against 

* Paris, 1622. t Dausqueius, in his Dedication. 


the homily, both internal and external, is too strong- to 
be set aside. Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople, 
who lived in the ninth century, expressly says that this 
Basil wrote fifteen homilies, which he enumerates, 
specifying their subjects, and this is not one of them ; 
though he says that other compositions were carried 
about under his name. The homily professes to have 
been delivered on the feast of the Annunciation, 
though no allusion to that feast is found for two cen- 
turies after this Basil lived.* 

The works of this writer are not alluded to in the 
decree of Pope Gelasius, nor consequently in the 
Canon Law of Rome. 

And Bellarmin himself, in his treatise on Ecclesias- 
tical Writers, makes no mention either of the writings 
or even of the name of this Basil. 

Among the doctors approved of by the Roman Ca- 
non Law are Orosius and Sedulius. We are un- 
willing to omit any one of those who are received by 
the Church of Rome as authorities in matters of 
Christian faith and practice, and we have therefore 
thought it necessary to examine the scanty remains of 
these two writers. 

Orosius, a Spaniard, called in the Canon Law "a very 
learned man," and whose date is about the year 400, 
wrote seven books on the History of Rome, through 
which he traces the hand of Divine Providence pre- 
paring the way for the Christian dispensation. In this 
work he speaks of the Saviour as the Son of God and 
Man, the offspring of a Virgin. He wrote also a work 

* See Appendix B. t Bib. Vet. Pat. Venice, 17 73, torn. ix. 


full of theological erudition on the Freedom of the 
Will. In the course of this treatise many opportuni- 
ties offered themselves of referring to Mary, had he 
associated with her name the ideas of sinless perfec- 
tion, or had he regarded her as a mediator and inter- 
cessor, or as one who was to be involied by us sinners. 
But he makes no mention of her. He refers to St. 
Paul, and St. Peter, and St. James, and Zacharias, 
and the Canaanitish woman, and others ; but to the 
Virgin Mary he makes no reference at all. He 
speaks of Christ as the only Mediator and Intercessor. 

Sedulius, to whom the Canon Law assigns the title 
of " Venerable," in his beautiful Christian poems, 
speaks much of the Virgin as the Mother of Him, 
who was God from eternity, and Man born in this 
world ; and in a passage, lately quoted by a Roman 
Catholic bishop, he speaks of her as the woman 
through whom alone the way of life was effected. 
But we find nothing in Sedulius to countenance a 
Christian either in addressing Mary in prayer, or in 
praying to God through her intercession. His testi- 
mony may with the greatest degree of probability be 
referred to the year of our Lord 440 ; though some 
place it earlier, others later. 




It will be borne in mind that the legend on 
which the doctrine of the Assumption of the Virgin 
Mary is founded, professes to trace the tradition to 
Juvenal, Archbishop of Jerusalem, when he was so- 
journing in Constantinople for the purpose of at- 
tending the General Council of Chalcedon. To the 
emperor and empress, who presided at that council, 
Juvenal is said to have communicated the tradition, 
as received in Palestine, that the body of Mary was 
miraculously removed from the tomb into heaven. 
This circumstance would, of itself, induce us to as- 
certain, by an examination of the records of the coun- 
cil, whether any traces may be found confirmatory of 
such a tradition, or otherwise : but further, the questions 
discussed at that council, closely bearing on the main 
subject of our inquiry, would of themselves make a 
thorough examination of its records indispensable ; and 
since that council cannot be regarded as an insula- 
ted assembly, but as a continuation rather, or re-assem- 
bling, of the preceding minor Councils of Constanti- 
nople and Ephesus, it will be necessary briefly to re- 
fer to the occasion and nature generally of all those 
Christian synods. Nothing seems to have transpired 

* Cone. Gen. Florence, 1761 ; vols. v. vi. vii. 


in the previous councils which could be brought as evi- 
dence on the subject of our inquiry, beyond, at least, the 
general and strong negative evidence of the absence 
throughout of all reference to the Virgin Mary's 
glory, influence, patronage, and intercession ; whereas, 
the questions which had disturbed Christendom, and 
were agitated in these councils in the very middle of 
the fifth century, inseparable from a perpetually re- 
curring mention of the Virgin's name, afforded an 
opportunity at every turn to those who composed the 
councils and all connected with them, including the 
Bishop of Rome himself, of expressing their senti- 
ments towards her. The nature of the present work 
precludes us from entering at any length upon the 
character and history of these, or of antecedent 
councils ; a few words, however, seem requisite to 
enable us to judge of the nature and weight of the 
evidence borne by them on the question immediately 
before us. 

The source of all the disputes which then rent the 
Church of Him who had bequeathed peace, as his 
best and last gift, to his followers, was the anxiety 
to define and explain the nature of the great Christian 
mystery — the incarnation of the Son of God. All 
parties appealed to the Nicene Creed; though there 
seems to have been, to say the least, much misunder- 
standing, and unnecessary violence, and party spirit on 
all 'sides. The celebrated Eutyches of Constantinople 
was charged with having espoused heterodox doctrine, 
by maintaining that in Christ was only one nature — the 
incarnate Word. On this charge he was accused be- 
fore a council held at Constantinople in a.d. 448. 
His doctrine was considered to involve a denial of the 
human nature of the Son of God. The council con- 


demned him of heresy, deposed and excommunicated 
him. From this proceeding Eutyches appealed to a 
general council. A council (the authority of which has 
been solemnly denied, but with what adequate reason, 
it belongs not to our present inquiry to determine,) 
was convened at Ephesus in the following year by the 
Emperor Theodosius. The proceedings of this assem- 
bly were accompanied by lamentable unfairness and 
violence. Eutyches was acquitted and restored by 
this council, and his accusers were condemned and 
persecuted; Flavianus, Archbishop of Constantinople, 
who had summoned the preceding council, being even 
scourged and exiled. That patriarch, in his distress, 
sought the good offices of Leo, Bishop of Rome, 
who espoused his cause ; but who failed, neverthe- 
less, of inducing Theodosius to convene a general 
council. His successor Marcian, however, consented ; 
and, in the year 451, the Council was convened, 
which first meeting at Nice, was by adjournment 
removed to Chalcedon. In this council all the pro- 
ceedings, as well of the Council of Constantinople 
as of Ephesus, were rehearsed at length ; and, from a 
close examination of the proceedings of those three 
councils, only one inference seems deducible, — namely, 
that the invocation of the Virgin Mary had not then 
obtained that place in the Christian Church which the 
Church of Rome now assigns to it; a place, however, 
which the Church of England, among other branches 
of the Catholic Church, maintains that it cannot, with- 
out a sacrifice of the sound and unalterable principles 
of religious worship, be suffered to retain. 

The grand question then, agitated with too much as- 
perity and too little charity, was this ; Whether, by the 


incarnation, our blessed Saviour became possessed of 
two natures, the divine and human. Subordinate to 
this, and necessary for its decision, was involved the 
question. What part of his nature, if any, Christ de- 
rived from the Virgin Mary ? Again and again does 
this question bring the name, the office, the circum- 
stances, and the nature of that holy and blessed mother 
of our Lord before these councils. The name of Mary 
is continually in the mouth of the accusers, the ac- 
cused, the judges, and the witnesses ; and had Chris- 
tian pastors then entertained the same feelings of de- 
votion towards her, — had they professed the same 
belief as to her assumption into heaven, and her influ- 
ence and authority in directing the destinies of man, 
and in protecting the Church on earth,' — had they ha- 
bitually appealed to her with the same prayers for her 
intercession and good offices, and placed the same con- 
fidence in her as we find now exhibited even in the 
authorized services of the Roman Ritual, — it is impossi- 
ble to conceive that no signs, no intimation, not the 
slightest reference to such views and feelings, should, 
either directly or incidentally, have shewn themselves, 
somewhere or other, among the manifold and pro- 
tracted proceedings of these councils. A diligent 
search has been made; but no expression on the 
part of the orthodox can be found as to Mary's na- 
ture and office, or as to our feelings and conduct 
towatds her, in which a member of the Church of 
England would not heartily acquiesce. No senti- 
ment can be found implying invocation or religious 
worship of any kind, or in any degree ; no allusion to 
her assumption is there. 

The works of Leo, who in the documents of this coun- 


ci] is frequently called Archbishop of Rome * and who 
is a canonized saint of that Church, will be hereafter 
examined as affording independent testimony. In his 
letters to Julian, Bishop of Cos, he speaks of Christ as 
born of " a Virgin ;" " the blessed Virgin ; " " the pure 
undefiled Virgin ;"f and, in his letters to the Empress 
Pulcheria, he calls the mother of our Lord simply " the 
Virgin Mary ;" or " the blessed Virgin Mary ;" or sim- 
ply " the Virgin-Mother." In his celebrated letter to 
Flavian, Archbishop of Constantinople, (not one word 
of which, according to the decree of the Roman council 
under Gelasius, is to be questioned by any man, on pain 
of incurring an anathema,) Pope Leo says, that Christ 
was conceived by the Holy Ghost in the womb of the 
Virgin Mary his mother, who brought him forth with 
the same virgin purity with which she had conceived 
him. Flavianus, in his confession of faith to the Em- 
peror Theodosius, affirms that Christ was born " of 
Mary the Virgin, of the same substance with the 
Father according to his Godhead, of the same sub- 
stance with his mother according to his manhood."^ 
He speaks of her afterwards as " the holy Virgin." 

There is, indeed, one expression, to which we 
have already referred, used in a quotation from 
Cyril of Alexandria, and adopted in these transac- 
tions, which requires a few words of especial observ- 
ation. The word is Theotocos, which the Latins 
were accustomed to transfer into their works, only 
substituting the Roman for the Greek characters, but 
which afterwards the writers of the Church of Rome 
translated by Deipaea, and in more recent times by 

* Vol. V. p. 1418. 

+ Leo, Works, voL i. pp. 1049, 980, 801, &c. 

t Vol vi. p. 539. 


Dei Mater (Mother of God), Dei Genitrix, Creatoris 
Genitrix ; employing those terms, not in explanation 
of the two-fold nature of Christ, as was the case in 
these councils, but in exaltation of Mary, his Virgin- 
Mother. This word, as we have seen, in its primitive 
sense, was adopted by Christians in much earlier times 
than the Council of Chalcedon ; but it was employed to 
express more strongly the Catholic belief in the di- 
vine and human nature of Him who was Son both. 
of God and man, and by no means for the purpose 
of raising Mary into an object of religious adora- 
tion.* The sense in which it was used was ex- 
plained in the 7th act of the Council of Constan- 
tinople, repeated at Chalcedon, as given by Cyril 
of Alexandria: " According to this sense of an un- 
confused union, we confess the Holy Virgin to be 
Theotocos, because that God the Word was made 
flesh, and became man, and from that very concep- 
tion united with himself the temple received from 

Nothing in our present inquiry turns upon the real 
meaning of the word Theotocos. Some, who have 
been among the brightest ornaments of the Church 
of England, have adopted the language, " Mother of 
God ;" while many others among us believe that the 
original sense would be more correctly conveyed by 
the expression, " Mother of Him who was God." 

* It is curious to remark, that (according to Balusius) all the 
ancient books, and all the editions of the records of these councils 
before the Roman edition, retained in the Latin translation the 
Greek word Theotocos ; and when it was, at length, translated by 
" Dei Genitrix," the editor thought it necessary, in justification of 
so novel a form, to ask, " Who doubts that this is a good inter- 
pretation ?" Vol. vi. p, 735. 



There are other points in the course of these im- 
portant proceedings to which our attention is in- 
vited, with the view of contrasting the sentiments 
of the Bishop of Rome in the middle of the fifth 
century, and also the expressions employed by other 
chief pastors of Christ's flock, with the language of 
the appointed authorized services of the Roman 
Church now, and the sentiments of her reigning Pon- 
tiff and accredited ministers. 

The circumstances of the Church throughout Christ- 
endom, as represented in Leo's letter in the fifth cen- 
tury, and the circumstances of the Church of Rome, 
as lamented by the present Pope in 1832,* are in 
many respects very similar. The end desired by 
Leo and by Flavianus, his brother-pastor and con- 
temporary. Bishop of Constantinople, and by Gre- 
gory, now Bishop of Rome, is one and the same ; 
namely, the suppression of heresy, the prevalence of 
the truth, and the unity of the Christian Church. 
But how widely and how strikingly different are the 
foundations on which they respectively build their 
hopes for the attainment of that end ! 

The present Roman Pontiff's hopes, and desires, and 
exhortations are thus expressed : 

"That all may have a successful and happy issue, let 
us raise our eyes to the most blessed Virgin Mary, 
WHO ALONE destroys heresies, who is our greatest hope, 


exert her patronage to draw down an efficacious 
blessing on our desires, our plans, and proceedings in 

* See page 59 of this work. 


the present straitened condition of our Lord's flock! 
We will also implore in humble prayer from Peter 
the Prince of the Apostles, and from his fellow- Apostle 
Paul, that you may all stand as a wall to prevent any 
other foundation than what hath been laid; and, support- 
ed by this cheering hope, we have confidence that the 
author and finisher of faith, Jesus Christ, will at last con- 
sole us all in the tribulations which have found us ex- 
ceedingly. To you, venerable brethren, and the flocks 
committed to your care, we most lovingly impart, as 
auspicious of celestial help, the apostolic benediction. 
Dated at Rome, from St. Mary Major's, August 15, 
the festival of the Assumption of the same blessed 
Virgin Mary, the year of our Lord 1832, of our pon- 
tificate the second.'" 

How deplorable a change ! how melancholy a dege- 
neracy is here evinced from the faith, and hopes, and 
sentiments of Christian bishops in days of old ! In 
the hopes expressed by Leo and Flavian we seek in 
vain for any reference or allusion " to the blessed 
Virgin Mary as the destroyer of heresies, the greatest 
hope, the entire ground of a Christian's hope;" we 
seek in vain for any exhortation to the faithful " to 
raise their eyes to her in order to obtain a merciful and 
happy issue." To God, and God alone, are the faithful 
exhorted to pray; on God, and God alone, do those 
Christians, whether at Rome or at Constantinople, 
declare that their hopes rely ; God alone they regard 
as the destroyer of heresies, the restorer of peace, and 
the protector of the Church's unity. " Their greatest 
hope, yea, the entire ground of their hope," the Being 
to be " implored in humble prayer," is not Mary, nor 
Peter, nor Paul, but God alone, the Creator of the 
world, the Redeemer of mankind, the sanctifier of 


Mary, and Peter, and Paul, and of all the elect people 
of God. Thus, Flavian, writing to Leo, says : " Where- 
fore " [in consequence of those errors, and heresies, and 
distractions which he had deplored,] " we must be 
sober, and watch unto prayer, and draw nigh to God; 
and cast away foolish questions, and follow the Fathers, 
and not go beyond the eternal landmarks taught us by 
the Holy Scriptures."* And again : " Thus will the 
heresy which has arisen, and the consequent commo- 
tion, be easily destroyed by your holy letters with the 
assistance of God."' f Thus Leo in his turn, writing to 
Julian, Bishop of Cos, utters this truly Christian senti- 
ment ::|: " May the mercy of God, as we trust, grant 
that, without the loss of any soul, the sound parts may 
be protected against the darts of the devil, and the 
wounded parts may be healed ! May God preserve 
you safe and sound, most honoured brother !"| Thus 
the same Bishop of Rome, writing to Flavian in the 
most celebrated of his epistles, expressed his hopes in 
these words : " Confidently trusting that the help of 
God will be present, so that one who has been misled, 
condemning the vanity of his own thoughts, may be 
saved. May God preserve you in health and strength, 
most beloved brother !" § We must not dwell longer 
on these most interesting documents. The whole 
Council of Chalcedon, at the conclusion of all, and 
when the triumph was considered to have been se- 
cured over Eutyches, and their gratitude was ex- 
pressed that all heresy had been destroyed, instead 
of referring to Mary as the " sole destroyer of here- 

* Leo, vol. i. p. 751 ; Cone. vol. v. p. 1330. 
t Leo, vol. i. p. 791 ; Cone. vol. v. p. 1355. 
:$: Leo, vol. i. p. 883 -, Cone. vol. v. p. 1423, 
§ Leo, vol. i. p. 838 ; Cone. vol. v. p. 1390. 


sies," shouted, as if witli the voice of one man, from side 
to side, " It is God alone who hath done this !"* 
Neither antecedently did their chief pastors exhort 
them to " raise their eyes to Mary," and promise to 
" implore " what they needed " in humble prayer from 
Peter and Paul ;" neither in the straitened condition 
of the Lord's flock did they invoke any other than 
God. And when truth prevailed, and the victory was 
won, while they were lavish of their grateful thanks to 
the emperor and his queen, who were present and had 
succoured them, of help from the invisible world they 
make no mention, save only of the Lord's : they had 
implored neither angel, nor saint, nor the Virgin, to be 
their protector and patron ; and neither angel, nor 
saint, nor Virgin shared their praises ; God, and God 
alone, through Christ, was exalted in that day. 

* Cone. vol. vii. p. 174, 




IsiDOEE, called of Pelusiuin from the mountain of 
that name near one of the mouths of the Nile, -where 
the convent stood of which he was the abbot, was a 
disciple of St. Chrjsostom, and was celebrated as a 
philosopher, a rhetorician, and a divine. His death is 
with much probability referred to a.d. 450. His 
works are of a very peculiar character, consisting 
almost entirely, if not altogether, of letters addressed 
to various persons on subjects chiefly in immediate 
connexion with the faith and life of Christians. It is 
said that they once amounted to ten thousand, of which 
more than two thousand are preserved to our times. 
There are some very interesting and very beautiful 
portions in the remains of this Christian writer, which 
no believer can carefully read without profit ; for 
example, his very striking practical application of the 
Lord's Prayer, in the 24th epistle of the 4th book. 

On this Father's evidence on the worship of the Vir- 
gin, we need say but very few words. In the nearly 
three thousand letters written on various subjects of 
deep interest to eyerj Christian, the name of Mary is 
scarcely found at all ; and the passages are very few 
in which any reference is made to her as the mother 
of our Lord. The following are the most important pas- 

* Paris, 1638. 


sages — rather, the only important passages — discovered 
on the subject. The reader will immediately see how 
far these passages indicate the absence of all such reli- 
gious feelings and practices towards the Virgin as our 
Roman Catholic brethren now profess and maintain. 

" We must not seek from nature proofs of things 
above nature ; for, though the Word became flesh, yet 
Christ is not a mere man, but rather God become 
man. In the two natures he is the one Son of God."* 

" ' I am not sent except to the lost sheep of the 
house of Israel,' said the Lord to the Canaanitish 
woman, desiring to fulfil the promise made to Abra- 
ham, having both taken upon Him his seed, and hav- 
ing chosen a mother from it, and in her and of her 
having been made flesh and become man, in all things 
like ourselves, sin only except."-f 

" The holy volume of the Gospels bringing down 
the genealogy to Joseph, who drew his relationship 
from David, sufficed to shew through him, that the 
Virgin also was of the same tribe with David, since 
the Divine Law directed marriages to be made between 
persons of the same tribe." J 

" You ask. What more excessive tenet, or what doc- 
trine different from ours, do the deceived and polytheis- 
tical Greeks maintain when they write of the mother 
of the gods ; whereas we also believe in a mother of 
God ? Hear then briefly what I desire you to know 
truly. • The Greeks acknowledge that the mother of 
their gods, even of the highest, both conceived and 
brought forth from incontinence and nameless passions ; 
neither ignorant nor guiltless of any species of wanton- 
ness as the mother of such beings. But her, whom we 
confess to be the mother of our God incarnate, all gene- 

* Book i. ep. 405. t Book i. ep. 121. % Book i. ep, 7. 


rations of men acknowledge to have conceived one Son, 
in one solitary M^ay, without seed, and without cor- 
ruption."* Having then described the sufferings of our 
Saviour, Isidore proceeds : " His resurrection proved 
him to be a suffering incarnate Deity, and that she 
who brought him forth was the mother of an incarnate 
Deity. The circumstances, therefore, being the same, 
we must adopt the same names."f " Let nothing be 
suffered to become an impediment to the Gospel of 
our Lord, and let no distraction of mind attend spiri- 
tual instruction ; nor let the intervention of any dis- 
turbance interrupt useful discussion : for neither did 
Christ, when he was sought for by his mother and his 
brethren, pay attention to their call, when he had be- 
gun his instruction, and was attending to the salvation 
of his hearers ; shewing that spiritual things should be 
held in higher estimation than carnal." 

This brings us to the middle of the fifth century. 


Theodoret was born at Antioch, about a.d. 386 : he 
was educated by monks in a convent near his native 
place ; and continued to live among them till he be- 
came Bishop of Cyrus, in Syria, about a. d. 420. He 
was considered to have been unsettled in his views on 
the theological questions which then agitated Chris- 
tendom, and at one time to have espoused the side of 
Nestorius. When Cyril of Alexandria contended on 
these points with John Bishop of Antioch, Theodoret 
opposed him, but they were afterwards reconciled. He 
was deprived of his bishopric by the second Council of 
Ephesus, but was restored by the Council of Chal- 

* Book i. ep. 54. f Lib. i. ep. 159. 

X [Paris, 1642, four vols. foL] Halle, 1769, five vols. oct. 


cedon, after he had most solemnly declared himself 
a firm adherent to the Catholic faith. His testimony 
brings us down to about a.d. 457. 

It is impossible to read the works of Theodoret 
without finding in them evidence of the melancholy 
extent to which superstition had then shot forth its 
roots and branches, and encumbered the garden of the 
Lord. We find in his writings Indisputable proofs that 
Christians in his time, in their zeal to convert their 
heathen neighbours to the religion of the Cross, offered 
to them as an inducement the adoption of saints 
and martyrs in the place of their fabled divinities of 
the lower ranks. Thus were those saints and mar- 
tyrs, who shed their blood rather than renounce their 
allegiance to the one only God, and their faith in the 
one only Mediator, made the substitutes of the house- 
hold deities of paganism, and of the tutelary gods 
of the fields, and woods, and mountains, and seas, and 
winds, and storms. To this delusive and fatal prin- 
ciple, which, as we learn from Theodoret, g-ave great 
offence to the more enlightened among their heathen 
contemporaries, Christendom may ascribe, with tears 
of sorrow, a large and fearful share of those super- 
stitious tenets and practices which well-nigh buried 
primitive faith and apostolic worship. But, gigantic 
as were the strides which superstition had then already 
taken, Christian worship is proved to have been still 
free from the invocation of the Virgin Mary, and 
primitive faith to have hitherto preserved the Church 
from the innovation of addressing God in prayer 
through her intercession. The subject which seems 
to have more than any other engaged the thoughts 
of Theodoret, and which indeed for a long period 
engrossed tlie interest of all Christendom, was the per- 


feet union in our blessed Saviour of the Divine and 
Human nature. Disputes inseparable from the defence 
of the truth on the several points connected vpith this 
question banished peace from the kingdom of the Prince 
of peace on earth ; whilst the theological combatants 
spoke, and seem to have felt and acted towards each 
other, with all the bitterness and hatred of personal ene- 
mies. But these disputes, of necessity, involved at every 
turn an inquiry into the office sustained in the mystery 
of the incarnation by the Virgin Mary herself. One 
question held to be of great moment was, whether the 
title of Theotocos (she who gave birth to Him who was 
God) could be applied properly to her. Never did any 
theological controversy give more ample room for the 
full development of whatever sentiments of reverence 
and religion were entertained towards her; and yet 
we find throughout, that the thoughts of Christians 
were then fixed, not on the superior excellence of the 
Virgin personally, but on the nature of her office in 
giving birth to the Saviour. The question really was, 
not whether the Virgin was the proper object of reli- 
gious adoration, but whether that fruit of her womb, 
which the angel pronounced to be the Son of the 
Highest, and to have David for his father, Jesus born 
of her in Bethlehem, though one Christ, was very and 
eternal God, of one substance with the Father, as well 
as very man of her substance, — this was the question 
really at issue. Doubtless, the mystery of God ma- 
nifest in the flesh invested the mother of our Lord 
with a mysterious name and character peculiarly her 
own, and which no other daughter of Eve could ever 
share ; and, if we understand Theodoret rightly,* we 
see that persons were beginning in his time to apply 

* Epist. 151. See vol. iv.p. 1302. 


to her, in elucidation of that mystery, titles which 
had not before been ascribed to her. But we find 
no trace whatever in his writings of any invocation 
of her ; no application to her to exert on the sup- 
plicant's behalf her interest with God ; no supplication 
to God to allow the intercession of the Virgin to pre- 
vail with him for mercy. A very few passages will 
enable the reader to form a correct estimate of the 
evidence of Theodoret. He tells us that Mary was 
called Joseph's wife, because she was betrothed to him.* 
He (in common with some previous writers) interprets 
the gate described by Ezekiel-j- as prophetic of the 
Virgin's womb.| He tells us, that though she was 
ten thousand times pure, yet was she the offspring of 
David, Abraham, and Adam ; and that, from her, He 
who was Truth itself sprang." § And when he declares 
the Christian's belief in the resurrection of the dead, 
he says, " Of that resurrection the first-fruits was our 
Lord Jesus Christ, who received from Mary, Theotocos, 
a body verily and not in appearance." || 

On the unconfused substance of Christ, Th'jodoret 
thus speaks: "The natures were not confused, but 
remained in their integrity. If we thus view the 
subject, we shall see the harmony of the Evangelists ; 
for .concerning that only-begotten, the Lord Christ, 
one proclaims what belongs to the Divinity, another 
what belongs to the Humanity : and the Lord Christ 
himself teaches us to take this view ; at one time 

* Vol. i. p. Z76. t xliv. 1, 2, 3. J Vol. ii. p. 1032. 

§ Vol. i. p. 1207. — The Editor, in the second Index, under the 
word Maria, thinks this a wretched interpolation, and suggests that 
the meaning is, " Although she is a hundred times pure, yet she 
descended from David, Abraham, and Adam, and consequently could 
not be herself the Justice and Truth which, came do-ww fvom l\ea^(en." 

II Vol. iii. p. 745. 


calling himself the Son of God, at another the Son 
of Man ; and at one time he honours his mother as 
her who gave him birth, at another as her Lord he 
chides her." * 

In a letter to a bishop named Irenseus, having 
appealed to the conduct of men towards each other 
in secular affairs, who do not insist upon all com- 
batants employing the same weapons of attack and 
defence, he thus speaks of theological controversy : 
" Thus ought we to judge of those who contend in 
the cause of religion : we ought not to seek for names 
which may breed contention, but arguments which 
may clearly spread the truth abroad, and which may 
fill the gainsayers with shame. For what difference 
does it make whether we call the holy Virgin au- 
thropotocos [her who bare a man] at once and theo- 
tocos [her who bare God], or to call her the mother 
and the handmaid of him whom she bare ; and to add, 
moreover, that she is the mother of our Lord Jesus 
Christ as man, and his handmaid as God, and thus to 
silence all pretext for carping, while we convey the 
same idea by another expression ? Besides this, we 
ought to observe, that one of those is a common ap- 
pellation, the other exclusively the Virgin's ; and that 
all the controversy has arisen on this point, which 
ought not to be. And most of the ancient Fathers 
have applied the more honourable appellation to the 
Virgin. And your piety also has done this in two 
or three orations which I have in my possession, 
you having kindly sent them to me; and you, my 
lord, have not added the word anthropotocos to the 
word theotocos, but have conveyed the same sense in 
other words."! 

* Vol. iv. p. 105. t Epist, xvi. vol. iv. p. 1077. 


There are many passages in this ancient Father 
all leading to the same conclusion, that in his v\e\* 
Mary was a holy and blessed Virgin ever to be held 
in reverence and honovxr as the mother and the hand- 
maid of the Lord ; but by no means is she represented 
by him as the object of invocation, or one ^hose media- 
tion and intercession Christians might plead with God. 
We must not swell this volume by the citation of 
many such passages ; and yet some there are which so 
clearly lay before us the true Catholic doctrine of 
the incarnation, and the general views and feelings 
of Theodoret and his contemporaries on the subject be- 
fore us, that we should not feel justified in passing 
on to another witness without dwelling somewhat 
longer on his testimony. 

Having quoted the prophecy of Isaiah which an- 
nounces the future Messiah as the Mighty God, he 
says, *' If the Child born of the Virgin is called the 
Mighty God, with reason is she who brought him 
forth called theotocos •, for she who bears, shares the 
honour of him who is born :"* adding, moreover, this 
explanation of St. Paul saying of Christ, "without 
father, without mother ;" " for he is without father as 
to his manhood, for as man he was brought forth only 
by his mother; and he is without mother as to his 
Godhead, for he was begotten of his Father alone 
before _ the worlds." In the same letter f he thus 
writes : " But if we confess Christ, and declare Christ 
to be God and man, who is so foolish as to shun the 
word anthropotocos in conjunction with theotocos ? for 
in the case of the Lord Christ we use both appella- 
tions; wherefore the Virgin is honoured and called 

* Vol. iv. p. 1311. t Vol. iv. p. 1303. 


" highly favoured" [or " full of grace"]."- What sensi- 
ble person then would refuse to apply names derived 
from the Saviour's names to the Virgin, who through 
him is held in honour by the faithful ? for it is not that 
He who sprang from her derives his dignity from her, 
but she through Him who was born of her is adorned 
with the highest appellations. Now, if Christ were 
only God, and had derived the origin of his existence 
from the Virgin, then let the Virgin be called and 
named Tlieotocos, as liaving given birth to him who 
by nature is God. But if Christ is both God and 
man, and the one nature was ever, — for he never began 
to exist, being coeternalwith the Father,— and the other 
in these last days sprang from human nature, let him 
who wishes to state doctrines entwine the Virgin's 
appellations from both these views, shewing what ap- 
pertains to nature and what to the union ; but if any 
one is desirous of speaking in the panegyric form, and 
to weave hymns, and compose praises, and wishes at 
all events to employ the more digniiied appellations, 
not stating doctrines, but panegyrising, and, as much 
as possible, holding up to admiration tlie greatness 
of the mystery, let him enjoy his desire, and employ 
the great names, and let him praise and admire : we 
find many such things among orthodox teachers. But 
everywhere let moderation be reg-arded highly." -f 

It is right to observe here, that Theodoret is check- 
ing the tendency, which then was evidently rising, to 
employ, when speaking of the Virgin, the more ho- 

* Theodoret here uses the Greek word employed by St. Luke. 

-|- There are two other passages of a similar kind which will repay 
the reader's examination, though they throw no additional light on the 
immediate subject before us beyond what the paragraphs we have al- 
ready quoted are found to impart ; vol. v. p. 1 082 and p. 1 086. 


nourable title of Tlieotocos, exclusively of the other 
equally essential name Anthropotocos ; and that, whilst 
he would urge the Christian instructor in his doc- 
trine not to throw into the background the tenet of 
Christ's perfect raanliood, by always speaking of Mary 
as the mother exclusively of him who was God, he 
allows a greater liberty to the poet and the panegy- 
rist. We have often had to remark, that the error 
of the worship of the Virgin, as well indeed as the 
invocation of saints in general, owed its origin mainly 
to the enthusiastic and unchastened language of popu- 
lar harangues. To this error Theodoret gives no coun- 
tenance. His testimony brings us within the latter 
half of the fifth century. 


Contemporary with Isidore of Pelusium, though a 
few years younger, was Prosper of Acquitaine, who died 
about A. D. 463, whom the Roman law honours as " a 
very religious man." To this character of Prosper we 
cordially add our humble testimony, as far as the mind 
and heart of an author are discernible through his 
writings by a fellow-mortal. His reference of all that 
we have of spiritual good to the grace of Christ 
alone; the steady constant fixing of the eye of 
faith on _ our blessed Saviour; his entire renunciation 
of all human merits ; the pure love of high and un- 
affected piety throughout ; his strong and warm- 
hearted exhortation to a persevering study of HoJj 
Scripture ; — these, with his many other excellences, 
recommend him much and dearly to every true Chris- 

* Paris, 1711, and 1739. 


tian. His annotations on the Psalms, from the hun- 
dredth to the last, are in themselves very beautiful ; 
having a truly spiritual and evangelical tone pervading 
them throughout ; and few will not feel regret that 
we have not the same pious man's assistance in our 
interpretation and Christian application of the larger 
portion of that holy book. 

We find no passage in which he alludes to the Virgin 
as an object of religious worship, or a source of the 
Christian's hope : he speaks of Christ as the offspring 
of the unspotted Virgin ; and of her he says no more. 
But he does bid us, again and again, look to the aton- 
ing merits of our Saviour, and to his prevailing interces- 
sion ; and to anchor our hope on his mercy alone. We 
have room only for the citation of a very few pas- 

In his commentary on the Psalms* he speaks of the 
prayer in which our Lord is now daily interceding for 
us, and alludes to no other intercessor ;f and he asks, 
What ruler and guide have the wicked, except the 
devil ? whom would the faithful have, except Christ ? 
He tells us that of the religious man, here, the only 
hope is God, and, hereafter, the only reward is God. ^ 
He cheers us too with such sentiments as these. 

" The confidehce of those who hope is God's mercy. 
Let no one fear because of his iniquities when he 
would approach God the Lord ; only let him give up 
himself with his whole heart, and cease from willing 
and from doing what displeases even himself; let him not 
say that such and such a sin may be perhaps forgiven, 
whilst another, from its very nature, must be punished ; 
but let him cry out from the depths, and let him hope 

* Ps. 140. t Ps. 141. t Ps. 129. 


from the morning-wateh even until night ; because 
his Redeemer, who is without sin, for this very reason 
shed his precious blood for the unjust, that he might 
blot out all the sins of all who believe in him." 

In his poem on the Ungrateful, he teaches us 
to depend upon God's grace alone, and to ascribe all 
our righteous deeds to him alone, renouncing utterly- 
all human merit. The work is written in hexameter 
verse, and cannot fail to lose much of its point and 
beauty from such a literal translation as can alone be 
satisfactory when we are seeking evidence. Having 
asked. Why should we feel any false shame, in this 
valley of tears, to confess that without God we are 
of ourselves nothing ? he thus proceeds: 

" And yet, if we direct our thoughts to holy actions, 
when the chaste mind resists the desires of the flesh, 
when we yield not to the tempter, and, though harassed 
with bitter sufferings, we remain with heart unhurt, 
we act then with liberty. True : but it is a liberty re- 
deemed for us, of which God is the ruler: and from 
the supreme light the Light is our life, health, virtue, 
wisdom. The Grace of Christ is that by which it 
runs, rejoices, endures, avoids, chooses, is urgent, be- 
lieves, hopes, loves, is cleansed, is justified.'"* 

" For, if we do anything, we do it by thy assistance, 
O Lord : Thou movest our hearts; Thou suggestest the 
prayer of one who seeks that which Thou art willing 
to give_; keeping what thou bestowest, and creating 
merits from merits, and crowning largely thine own 
gifts. We must not, however, think that our care is 
lessened, or our pursuit of virtue slackened, or that 
the work of our mind grows torpid by this, that the 

* Verse 971. 


good deeds of the Saints are thine, and wliatever in 
them is healthful or strong derives its life and health 
from Thee, so that the will of man might seem to do 
nothing, whilst Thou dost effect all. And what with- 
out Thee does that will effect, except that thing by 
which it is an exile banished far from Thee, destined by 
its own motion to enter on precipitous paths out of 
the way, unless Thou, O Good Being, take it up when 
wearied and faint, and carry it back, and cherish, de- 
fend, and adorn it? Then its course becomes swift, 
its eyes see, its liberty is free, its wisdom is wise, its 
judgment is just, its virtue is strong, its faculties are 
sound. Of this help may we always feel the need ; 
from it may our will advance ; without this may our 
bodily senses exercise no power, and may all slavish 
work cease ; and, whilst Thy will, and not our own, is 
operative in us, may we enjoy our lawful sabbaths and 
our holy festivals ! " * 

In such a man as this it were vain to seek for anv 
proofs of hope resting elsewhere than in God alone. 
He bids us proceed boldly to the Throne of Grace, 
trusting in the Saviour's atoning blood, and, renounc- 
ing all our own good deeds, plead only for mercy 
through His merits, and hoping to be heard only 
through His intercession. 

Prosper was a disciple of St. Augustine, and secre- 
tary to Pope Leo. He was not taken to the rest 
which awaits the people of God till about the year 
A.D. 463. 

* Verse 982. 



In the short but celebrated work of this writer, 
called Commonitorium, a passage occurs which deserves, 
on every account, our serious attention. He was 
Bishop of an island called Lirens, or, as Bellarmin 
says, of a monastery of that name ;* and his work, 
written about the year 434, is directed against the se- 
veral heresies which had then perverted Scripture doc- 
trine, and disturbed the peace of Christendom. In 
his introductory remarks, he points out with equal 
brevity and clearness the use of primitive tradition in 
our inquiries after the Apostolic doctrine, and the 
faith once delivered to the Saints. 

The whole passage, to which alone our thoughts are 
now especially called, is the following : Nestorius held 
that there were two sons ; one, who was God from the 
Father ; the other, man born of his mother ; " Conse- 
quently, that the holy Mary is not to be called 
Theotocos, because, forsooth, of her was born, not that 
Christ who was God, but that Christ who was man." 
He then proceeds : " Through this unity of person, by 
reason of a like miracle, it was brought to pass, that, 
the flesh of the Word growing entirely from his 
mother, God the Word himself is with most truly Ca- 
tholic faith believed, and is with greatest impiety de- 
nied, to have been born of a virgin. This being the 
case, let not any one attempt to defraud the holy Mary 
of the privileges and special glory of divine grace. For 
by the singular gift of our Lord and God, her Son, she 
must be most truly and blessedly confessed to be 
Theotocos ; yet not in that sense Theotocos, in which 

* Vol. vii. De Scriptor. Eccles. 


a certain impious heresy supposes, which asserts that 
she is only to be called Motlier of God bj a figure of 
speech, namely, because she brought forth that man 
who afterwards was made God ; just as we speak of 
the mother of a bishop or a priest, not because she 
gives birth to one already a bishop or priest, but by 
producing that man who afterwards was made priest or 
bishop. Not so is the holy Mary Theotocos ; but for 
this reason rather, because in her most holy womb the 
mystery was effected, that, by a singular and solitary 
unity of person, as the Word was flesh in flesh, so man 
in God is God." 

After making this most explicit declaration of the 
Catholic faith, " that the Word, the Son of the Father, 
very and eternal God of one substance with the Father, 
took man's nature in the womb of the blessed Vir- 
gin of her substance ; " and after reprobating, with 
sentiments of abhorrence, the rashness and impiety 
of those who would rob the Virgin of her lawful 
character and honour as the mother of that man who 
was very God ; how does Vincentius proceed ? Had 
he been trained in that school which professes to offer 
to Mary religious invocation, to pray to our heavenly 
Father through her intercession, to honour her above 
Angels and Cherubim, and to regard Mary as the 
chief source of a Christian's hope, surely some intima- 
tion of such principles would not fail to have appeared 
in this place. The author does indeed immediately 
pronounce blessings, and honour, and reverence ; yet 
Mary is not the object of his pious admiration, but the 
Church, which maintains the truth as to the person of 
Christ : he does draw a comparison between what is 
now going on in this world, and the exalted duties and 
office of the holy Angels ; but it is the profession of 


the true faith in Christ, not the glory of the Virgin- 
Mother, of which he speaks. 

" Blessed Catholic Church, which worships One God 
in the fulness of the Trinity, and also the Equality of 
the Trinity in one Godhead ! Blessed Church, which 
believes that there are two true and perfect substances 
in Christ, but Christ to be one person ! By that (the 
unity of person) we confess both man to be the Son of 
God, and God to be the Son of tbe Virgin. Blessed, 
therefore, and worshipful, praised and most holy, and 
altogether to be compared with the praise of Angels 
above, is that confession which glorifies one Lord God 
in threefold sanctification." 

To the sound and clear views of this author on the 
doctrine of progressive improvement and development, 
we have referred in the Introduction. 




Cyril became Bishop of Alexandria in the year 
412. In 403 we are told that he was present at 
Chalcedon when Chrysostom was deposed. He was 
called by many the Rule, or Standard, of sound doc- 
trine, — in his opinions removed equally from the errors 
of Eutyches and of Nestorius. Perhaps, among all the 
more voluminous primitive writers, the works of no 
one so much require a thorough, searching, and en- 
lightened examination. The Paris editors did little, 
or rather nothing, in the way of separating the genuine 
productions of Cyril from the forgeries which are 
made to bear his name. We cannot but lament that 
the Benedictines left him untouched. Even they 
might, perhaps, have stamped with their seal of ap- 
probation some works which a more successful criti- 
cism would have discarded ; but we should not have 
found, still mingled with the undoubted labours of 
Cyril, compositions which palpably carry their own 
condemnation with them. Some persons, indeed, have 
spoken in so disparaging a manner of Cyril as might 
deter any one from undertaking the task of separating 
his genuine works from the spurious, lest, after all, 
the result should not repay the labour. But many of 
us are persuaded that the task would be amply com- 

* Paris, six vols. fol. 1 638. 

z 2 


pensated, both by tbe satisfaction which would accrtie 
to the labourer himself, and the benefit conferred on 
the cause of Christian truth. It is not necessary that 
we should acquiesce in all the interpretations of Scrip- 
ture adopted by this truly evangelical and apostolic 
man in order to feel sentiments of admiration and 
gratitude for his example in one essential particular, — 
his habitual reference to holy Scripture in support of 
whatever he advances as to doctrine or practice. It 
is indeed cheering and animating to witness in him 
so steady and constant an appeal to the word of God. 
" Our hope is all in Christ," is the golden sentiment 
•with which he closes his treatise on the Right Faith ;* 
and, if we may judge of a writer's mind by bis works, 
the same is the principle which filled his whole soul 
and guided his life. The thoughts of his heart seem 
to revolve round God in Christ as their centre ; the 
Incarnate Word is all in all to him : he shews that 
he needed no other mediator than Christ Jesus alone ; 
he looked for no other intercession than Christ's. In 
his genuine works we find much satisfactory proof that 
he neither invoked Mary, nor prayed to God through 
her intercession. All his hope was in Christ, and that 
hope was abundantly sufficient to cheer and support 
him on his way to heaven. 

The subject which mainly occupied his thoughts com- 
pelled him to refer constantly to the Blessed Virgin. 
His wliole soul was engaged and absorbed by the duty 
of establishing the doctrine, then assailed from oppo- 
site quarters, that the Blessed Fruit of her womb, the 
Lord Jesus Christ, was perfect God and perfect Man. 
In these references he speaks of her always with re- 
spect and reverence, as the mysterious Virgin-Mother 

* Vol. vi. p. 180. 


of Him who was God of the substance of the Father, 
begotten before the world, and Man of the substance of 
Mary, born in the world. Thus he tells us that East and 
West confessed Mary to be Theotocos, parent of Him 
who was God.* He calls her generally the Holy Virgin, 
but he speaks as though her office was discharged when 
she gave birth to the Redeemer ; and he never alludes 
to herself personally as an object of adoration or invo- 
cation, nor as possessed of any power to assist us, nor as 
one through whose intercession we might hope to pro- 
cure the desires of our hearts when we approach God in 
prayer. Indeed, many of his sentiments would assure 
us that he thought and spoke of the Virgin Mary as 
we of the Church of England do now ; whilst some of 
his expressions would seem to sink below that reve- 
rential feeling which our language generally implies. 
The following are the principal passages which bear 
upon our subject. 

On the miracle at Cana he thus comments .-f "Pie 
comes with his own disciples to the marriage, for it 
was right that they who desired to see his wonderful 
deeds should be present with him when he wrought the 
miracle, since they would draw from the deed, as it 
were, food for the faith that was in them. And, when 
wine failed the guests, his mother called the Lord, who 
was good, to his wonted kindness, saying, ' They have 
no wine.' For, as though he had authority to do what- 
soever he would, she invites him to the miracle. 
' Woman, what have I to do with thee ? mine hour is 
not yet come.' AVell did our Lord form this expres- 
sion also for us ; for he ought not to have run on to act 
full speed, or to appear a ready worker of miracles on 
his own mere motion ; but to go to it with some diffi- 
* Vol. vi. Epist. p. SO. f Vol. iv. p. 136. 


culty and after inYitation, and to consult the wants of 

the case rather than the gratification of the hearers 

Especially does our Lord, by undertaking from respect 
towards his mother what he did not wish to do, shew 

that the honour due to parents is of the highest kind 

Having great influence towards bringing about the 
miracle, the woman prevailed, as was becoming, per- 
suading the Lord as a son ; and she began the matter 
by already preparing the attendants at the feast to do 
whatsoever might be ordered." 

Cyrirs comment * on the act of our Lord in con- 
signing his mother to the care of St. John, is full of 
interest, and, as evidence on the point before us, is of 
much importance : 

" ' Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, 
and his mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary 
Magdalene.' The divine Evangelist has profitably 
mentioned this also, shewing even in this that no one 
of the sacred words falls to the ground. . . He intro- 
duces as standing by the cross his mother, and with 
her the other women, evidently weeping; for the 
female race is much, we know, given to tears, and ex- 
ceedingly prone to lamentations, especially when they 
have abundant reasons for shedding tears. What then 
persuaded the blessed Evangelist to dwell on such 
minute points as to specify the tarrying there of the 
women ? His object was to teach us this : that, as was 
probable, his unexpected suffering gave offence to the 
very mother of our Lord herself; and the death upon 
the cross being very bitter, and besides this the mock- 
ings of the Jews, and the soldiers probably watching 

* Vol. iv. p. 1064. Of the genuineness of this comment there 
is no douU whatever. Bellarmin reckons this twelfth book on St. 
John among the undisputed works of Cyril. 


him at the very cross, and laughing to scorn Him who 
hung upon it, and in the very sight of his mother 
daring to divide his garments, threw her somewhat 
from the reasoning which became her. For, doubt 
not that she admitted some such reasonings as 
these: ' I gave birth to Him who is now laughed to 
scorn upon the cross ; but, when he said he was the 
true Son of the Almighty God, perhaps he was some- 
how deceived. How could he, who said, ' I am the 
Life,' be crucified ? And in what way could he be 
seized and bound by the cords of his murderers ? How 
did he not master the designs of his persecutors ? Why 
does he not come down from the cross, who command- 
ed Lazarus to return to life, and astonished all Judea 
with his miracles ?' It is exceedingly probable that the 
female mind {ro yvvaiov), not knowing the mystery, 
should slip into some such reasonings as these. For 
we shall do right in believing that the nature of those 
events was dreadful enough to turn from its course 
even the most sober mind ; and it is nothing mar- 
vellous if a woman was made to stumble into this 
state. For if the chief of the blessed disciples himself, 
Peter, once was offended when Christ spoke and taught 
plainly that he was to be delivered into the hands of 
sinners, and to suffer the cross and death, so that he 
hastily exclaimed, ' That be far from, thee, O Lord .' 
that shall not happen unto thee ! ' what wonder is it if 
the delicate mind of a woman should be hurried into 
weaker views? And this we say, not vainly forming 
conjectures, as some may think ; but drawn into our 
suspicion concerning the mother of our Lord, from 
what is written. For we remember that Simeon the 
Just, when he took our Lord, then a babe, into his 
arms, as it is written, gave thanks and said, ' Lord, now 


lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to 
thy word ; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.' 
And to the holy Virgin herself he said, ' Lo ! this one 
is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, 
and for a sign that shall be spoken against ; yea, a 
sword shall pierce through thine own soul also, that the 
thoughts of many hearts might be revealed.' By the 
sword he meant the sharp attack of the passion, which 
distracted the female mind into reasonings which were 
out of place ; for temptations try the hearts of those 
who suffer, and lay bare the reasonings which are in 

" 'When, therefore, Jesus saw his mother and the 
disciple standing by whom he loved, he said to his 
mother, Woman, behold thy son ! then saith he to the 
disciple. Behold thy mother ! and from that hour the 
disciple took her to his own home.' He takes pro- 
vident care of his mother, as if regardless of the excess 
of his suffering ; for, though suffering, he felt it not : 
and he delivers her to his beloved disciple John, who 
was the writer of this book ; and he bids him take her 
home, and regard her in the rank of a mother ; and he 
charges again his mother to regard that true disciple 
in no other light than really as a son, namely, one 
who by respect and affection would fulfil and imitate 

the duties of a real son What good did Christ 

effect bj this? In the first place, we say, that he 
wished to strengthen the principle, which is honoured 
even in the Law ; for what says the ordinance by Moses ? 
' Honour thy father and thy mother, that it may be well 
with thee.' . . . When the Legislator then enacted that 
so great honour should be paid by us to our parents, 
how was it otherwise than becoming that so celebrated 
a commandment should be sanctioned by the suffrage 


of the Saviour ? And since the character of every good 
and of every virtue came primarily through him, why 
should not this virtue also have run on together with 
the rest ? for honour to parents is the most precious 
form of virtue. And tell me how, except first of all 
from Christ and in Christ, could we have learned that 
our affection for them must not be neglected, though 
a flood of intolerable misfortunes bear upon us? for 
he is truly the most exalted person who keeps the 
commandments, and is not driven from the pursuit of 
what is right, not so much in the time of a calm, as. 
in the midst of storm and flood. To what I have 
already said, I would add, that how could it be other- 
wise than becoming for the Lord to take provident 
care of his own mother, when she had fallen so as to 
feel oflence, and was confused by disordered thoughts ? 
for, being the true God, and looking into the motions 
of the heart, and knowing what was in its depth, how 
could he but know the thoughts which at that time 
especially disturbed her at the honoured cross? Know- 
ing, therefore, the reasonings which were in her, he 
delivered her to the disciple who was the best in- 
structor in mysteries, and who was able well, and not 
inadequately, to explain the mystery ; for he was a 
wise man and a divine, who both receives her and 
takes her away rejoicing, intending to fulfil the whole 
desire of the Saviour concerning her." 

Here Cyril* tells us that Mary was astounded at the 
unexpected sufferings and death of her Son, and was 
unable to reconcile what she then saw with what he 
had told her of his divine nature ; but that we must 

* On this point Cyril takes, as we have seen, the same view with 
TertulHan, Origen, Basil, Chrysostom, Gregory of Nazianzum, Am- 
brose, Jerome, and others. 


not wonder at such weakness and stumbling in Mary, 
when even Peter himself felt somewhat of the same 
disappointment. Here Cyril tells us that our Saviour, 
when he saw the disturbed and disordered state of his 
mother's mind, arising from her ignorance of the divine 
dispensation, kindly entrusted her to St. John, who 
was a theologian profoundly acquainted with the divine 
will, and able to explain to her adequately the whole 
mystery of Christ's passion. Is it possible to read these 
passages, and not infer that St. Cyril of Alexandria 
was very far indeed from entertaining those sentiments 
concerning the perfection of the Virgin Mary which 
were afterwards propagated, and are still professed, by 
the Church of Rome? 

The same conclusion is forced upon us by Cyril's 
reasoning in a homily delivered to a very crowded 
audience,* in which he speaks of the prophecy of 
Simeon, addressed to Mary, in such a manner as to 
leave no doubt that he ranked the Virgin below the 
Apostles both in faith and knowledge. " Simeon 
said to the holy Virgin, ' A sword shall pierce through 
thine own soul also ;' by the ' sword,' meaning, per- 
haps, the pain which she felt on account of Christ, 
when she saw him, to whom she had given birth, cruci- 
fied; not at all knowing that he was stronger than 
death, and would rise again from the dead. And do 
not \^:onder at all if the Virgin is ignorant on a point 
on which we shall find even the holy Apostles them- 
selves to have been of little faith. Yea, the blessed 
Thomas, unless he had put his hand into his side, and 
touched the places of the nails, would not have be- 
lieved, though the other disciples said that Christ was 
risen, and openly shewed himself to them. It was 

* Vol. vi. p. 391. 


right that the truly wise Evangelist should teach us 
all things whatsoever the Son, through us and for our 
sakes, underwent when he became flesh, and did not 
disdain to take upon himself our poverty ; that we 
might glorify him as our Redeemer and Lord, as our 
Saviour and God, — because to him and with him, to 
God, even the Father, with the Holy Ghost, is glory 
and power for ever and for ever. Amen." 

We will only add one passage, contrasting very 
strikingly with those extraordinary representations of 
later times, which we find even in the authorized ser- 
vices of the Roman Church, and which abound in the 
works of her divines and in the books of devotion 
generally circulated ; those, namely, in which the Vir- 
gin is represented as a being of such surpassing excel- 
lence, that far above all created beings, principalities 
and powers in heavenly places, far above all prophets 
and apostles, angels and cherubim, she stands next to 
God, to be approached by a worship peculiarly her 

Having quoted St. Paul as applying to Christ the 
title of the Lord of Glory, and as representing him to 
be better than the angels, Cyril thus speaks :* " Now, 
to be, and to be called, the Lord of Glory, how is this 
otherwise than exceeding great, and surpassing every 
thing created, or brought to its birth ? I pass by mor- 
tal things, for they are very small ; but I say, that if 
any one should name angels, and enumerate the prin- 
cipalities, and thrones, and dominions, and mention 
also the highest seraphim, he would confess that these 
fall far short of His exceeding glory." Repeatedly 
does Cyril thus enumerate all things held in the 
highest honour by the faithful ; but neither above, 

* Vol. V. p. 697. 


nor among the highest does he ever mention the 
Virgin Mary. 

And, yet, even to the testimony of this Cyril we 
are referred for proof that the Virgin is invoked, and 
" that to her, in some sort, the works of Christ are 
attributed."* The homilyf quoted in evidence was for 
the first time admitted among the works of Cyril by 
Aubert, and in the sixth volume of his edition of 
Cyril's works is entitled " An Encomium of the same 
Cyril upon Holy Mary, the Theotoeos.":[: 

This is one of those works which make us more 
especially regret that the Benedictine editors left 
Cyril of Alexandria without undergoing their exami- 
nation. His homily cannot, in any point of view, 
be regarded as genuine : it carries its own condem- 
nation with it, and evidently is the corrupt version of 
a rhapsody composed in a much later age than the 
Council of Ephesus. Our remarks upon it will be 
found in the Appendix. 

* Dr. Wiseman's Remarks on Mr. Palmer's Letter, 1841, p. 25. 

+ Vol. \l. p. 379. 

J There is, in the same volume, another version of the same ho- 
mily, entitled " Of the same against Nestorius, when the Seven 
went down to the Holy Mary." 

LEO. 349 


LEO, A.D. 461. 

Leo, the first Pope of that name, and a canonized 
saint of the Church of Rome, was advanced to the 
Popedom in a.d. 440, and, having governed that 
Church for twenty- one years, died a.d. 461. Few 
saints in the Roman calendar are spoken of with so 
much reverence as Leo. He is often represented as 
equal to the Apostles ; and with such authority are 
his works invested that, a.d. 494, Pope Gelasius, 
and a council at Rome of seventy Bishops, assem- 
bled chiefly to determine what books should be 
held to be canonical, what apocryphal, what should 
be sanctioned, and what prohibited,* numbering Pope 
Leo's Letter to Flavian, Bishop of Constantinople, 
among the books to be sanctioned, add, " The text 
of which if any one shall dispute, even to a single 
iota, and shall not receive it in all things with rever- 
ence, let him be accursed." This celebrated letter 
was written in 449, and to it our attention has been 
already drawn, when the evidence of the Councils of 
Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon formed the 
subject of our inquiry. 

The evidence of such a man must be looked to 
with interest ; and the result of our researches is most 

* So early in the Church of Rome did the system of forming an 
Index Expurgatorius begin. 

LEO. 351 

and adoring love to God ; not on the blessed daughter 
of Eve, the root of Jesse (as he calls Mary), who was 
the mother of Him who is God and Man. On the 
union of the divine and human nature in one person 
never to be divided, Jesus Christ, God and Man, 
Son both of God and man, Leo speaks constantly, 
clearly, and powerfully; so he does on the Virgin- 
purity of JMary, who brought him forth by won- 
drous birth. But throughout his sermons, and through- 
out his epistles, not one word is found which would 
lead us to infer that he offered religious praises to 
the Virgin, or invoked her name, or looked to her 
for any benefits, or supplicated her for her intercession. 
He is constantly exhorting his hearers and brethren to 
join him in prayer; but God alone, through Christ alone, 
is tlie object of that prayer. In Pope Leo we seek in 
vain for any countenance to justify the present Pope's 
profession of confidence in Mary's guidance, and illu- 
mination, and protection. Here is no such appeal to 
the faithful, "That all may have a successful and 
happy issue, let us raise our eyes to the most blessed 
Virgin Mary, who alone destroys heresies, who is our 
greatest hope, yea, the entire ground of our hope." 
Leo directed his hearers to God alone as the destroyer 
of the enemies of the truth ; as the Christian's greatest 
and only hope ; as the dispenser Himself of every 
blessing to those who approached him in faithful 
prayer by his blessed Son ; as Himself ready to send 
down an efficacious blessing on the desires, and plans, 
and proceedings of his servants, and make his ministers 
to be as a wall of defence against the invasion of 
false doctrine. In every one of these particulars Leo's 
primitive doctrine and practice stand indeed in direct 
and marked contrast with the sentiments of the pre- 



sent Pontiff. Almost every discourse will supply an 
example of this in some one point or other. Pop 
Leo knew nothing of the Assumption of the Virgin ; 
the legend had not then been framed : but he does 
again and again invite his fellow-sinners and fellow- 
believers to rejoice on the most solemn festival of 
his most blessed Saviour's incarnation. 

POPE UEBAN, 1833. 

1. We select for the date of our 
letter this most joyful day, in 
which we celebrate the most so- 
lemn festival of the most blessed 
Virgin's triumph and Assumption 
into heaven. 

2. That she, who has been 
through every great calamity our 
patroness and protectress, 

3. May watch over us, wri- 
ting to you, and lead our mind by 
her heavenly influence to those 
counsels which may prove most 
salutary to Christ's flock 

POPE LEO^ 440. 

1. Our Saviour (dearly-beloved) 
was born to-day ; let us rejoice I . . 
There is no room for sadness. No 
one is cut off from partaking of 
this joy ; all have one common 
reason for rejoicing, because our 
Lord, the destroyer of sin and 
death, as he found no one free 
from guilt, so he came to set all 
free. Let the saint rejoice, be- 
cause he approaches the palm of 
victory. Let the sinner rejoice I 
because he is invited to pardon. 
Let the Gentile be instructed, be- 
cause he is called to life (p. 64). 

2. God Almighty succouring us 
through all. — P. 162. 

3. I beseech you by the mer- 
cies of God assist me by your 
prayers, that the Holy Spirit may 
remain in me, andyour judgements 
may not be unstable. To this 
our exhortation the grace of 
God is at hand, and gives suc- 
cour, [5] which by revealing the 
truth through the world, has de- 
stroyed the enemies of Christ's 
incarnation, and death, and re- 
surrection, so that the faithful in 



POPE UBBAN, 1833. 

4. But^ that all may hare a 
successful issue, let us raise our 
eyes to the most blessed Virgin 

5. Who alone destroys all he- 

6. Who is our greatest hope ; 
yea, the entire ground of our 

7. May she exert her patronage 
to draw down an efficacious bless- 
ing on ovn" desives, our plans, and 
proceedings, in the present straiten- 
ed condition of the Lord's flock. 

POPE LEO, 440. 
all the world, agreeing with the 
authority of the Apostolic faith, 
may rejoice in one joy with our- 
selves. P. 258. 

4. Let us then fly to the mercy 
of God, which is everywhere pre- 
sent. P. 166. That your kind- 
ness towards me may secure its 
intended fruit, do you suppliantly 
implore the most merciful clemen- 
cy of our God, that he would in our 
days ^5] put toflight those whoop- 
pose themselves to us, [7] would 
fortify our faith, increase our love, 
increase our peace, and vouchsafe to 
make me his poor servant (whom, 
to shew the riches of his grace, he 
willed to preside at the helm of 
his Church,) sufficient for so great 
a work, and useful to your edifi- 
cation . . . through Jesus Christ 
our Lord. 

e. & 7. The Grace of God, as 
we hope, will be present, and will 
enable us, by your prayers, to 
perform what we have undertaken. 
P. 243. 

In Pope Leo we find evidence of implicit trust in 
God; no confidence in man's merit; but a full and thank- 
ful acknowledgment of the salvation obtained by the 
death of Christ, and" made effectual to us by the grace 
of the Holy Spirit, to be obtained by the earnest 
prayer of a faithful and obedient Christian. We find 
indications, indeed, of some rising errors, which were 

2 a 


soon to invade the integrity of primitive faith : still 
with him God in Christ is all in all. 

The following, which are the closing words of his 
second sermon on the Nativity, speak of the purity of 
the Virgin, and of the birth of Christ, as an article of 
a Christian's creed ; but nothing approaching to invoca- 
tion of her, or confidence in her merits, or hope in her 
intercession, can be found. " Praise the Lord, well-be- 
loved, in all his works and judgements. Let there be in 
you a belief, without doubt, of the virgin purity and 
the birth. With holy and sincere devotedness, honour 
the sacred and divine mystery of the Restoration of 
man. Embrace Christ born in our flesh, that you may 
be accounted worthy to see him as the same God of 
glory reigning in majesty, who with the Father and 
the Holy Spirit remaineth in the unity of the Godhead 
for ever and ever." 

Pope Leo knew nothing of hyperdulia : and his tes- 
timony brings us far into the third part of the fifth 


Between the death of Leo and the elevation of Ge- 
lasius to the See of Rome about thirty years elapsed. 
The intervening prelates in the imperial city seem to 
have left few literary works behind them; nor does 
any atithor of note appear to have flourished in any 
part of Christendom during this interval. These 
Bishops of Rome were Hilarus, a.d. 461 ; Simpli- 
cius, A.D. 467 ; and Felix, a.d. 483. Hilarus speaks 
of "the grace of God"f and "the inspiration of 

* Sacrosaneta Concilia, Paris, 1621, p. 1154. — The pages in this 
edition of the Councils are confused. f P. 1042. 


the Lord Jesus Christ" as the source of mercies; and 
in his time the Council held at Venice speaks of " the 
Confession of Faith in the Holy Trinity," and of a ris- 
ing superstition* called "The Lots of the Saints," 
which the Council denounces ; but of the Virgin Mary 
we read nothing. 

In the letters of Simplicius and his correspondents 
we find continual references to God's mercy as the 
fountain of hope and blessings ; to Christ, as the salva- 
tion of the emperor and the strength of his realm ;f 
to the mercy of Christ, as that power which wards 
off evil, :|: as the protector of his servants. But 
there is no mention of the Virgin Mary throughout, 
of her influence or mediation. 

In the letters of Felix though many indications of su- 
perstition shew themselves,^ yet no allusion whatever 
is made to the mediation or intercession, the patron- 
age, power, or influence of the Virgin Mary. The 
Roman Synod held under him refers to God's power 
in conquering heresies, and his grace ; but they give not 
the shadow of an intimation that we can obtain that 
grace by the mediation and intercession of the Virgin. 
In his letter of admonition and reproof to Peter, Bishop 
of Antioch, called the Fuller, warning him against 
the error of representing the divinity of Christ as suf- 
fering, Felix dwells at some length on the incarnation 
of Christ ; and he there speaks of the holy purity of 
the Virgin's womb, when Christ was born of a 
woman.|| He does not mention the name of Mary, 
and he applies the prophetic psalm " Look down from 
heaven, behold and visit this vine," not, as others have 
done, to the Virgin, but to the "saving incarnation of 
the Word." Felix died a.d. 492. 

* P. 1057. t P. 1073. t 1074. § P. 1059. || P. 1061. 

2 A 2 



Under Gelasius, who was by birth an African, the Sy- 
nod of seventy bishops was held which is usually called 
the First Roman Council. In this council* was passed 
that decree, which classed the works then most known, 
and which were comparatively few, under the two heads 
of approved and forbidden works. Gelasius devoted 
himself much to the temporal advancement of the 
Church of Rome, and to its influence and authority over 
the rest of the world. In a letter addressed to Lauren- 
tius, a bishop of Greece, who seems to have solicited 
his interference, Gelasius prescribes a rule of faith, to 
which he desired all to conform. In this confession 
his reference to the Virgin Mary is couched in these 
words : " We confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the 
only-begotten Son of God before all ages, without be^ 
ginning, of the Father as touching his Godhead, in 
these last times was incarnate, and became perfect 
Man of the most holy Virgin Mary, possessed of a ra- 
tional soul and taking a body; of the same substance 
with the Father as touching his Godhead, and of the 
same substance with us as touching his humanity. . . . 
Christ brovight not his body from heaven, but received 
it from our substance ; that is, from the Virgin." 

In his striking dissertation on Original Sin, and the 
universal taint and infection of sin, it is impossible that 
he could have omitted all mention of the Virgin, had 
the Church of Rome (of which he was on earth the 
head) then held the Virgin's total immunity from sin, 
as the present Church of Rome does. We are not 
here referring to her own immaculate conception in 

» P. 1363. t p. 1163. 


the womb of her mother, (which, as being a novelty, 
St. Bernard reproves the monks of Lyons for main- 
taining,) but with reference to all immaculate personal 
and divine purity in herself, such as the authorized 
services of the Church of Rome, and her accredited 
teachers, and the devotions of her canonized saints, 
now set forth. There is much sound and healthful 
teaching to be found in the scanty remains of this 
bishop, and on the point immediately before us the fol- 
lowing sentiments seem worthy of our notice and ad- 
miration. Having reprobated the fundamental error 
of those who held that man by his own strength and 
exertions can in this life reach a state of moral and 
spiritual perfection, Gelasius thus proceeds :* 

" But should any one assert that, not by the possibility 
of human strength, but by divine grace, such a state 
may in this life be conferred on any holy man, he 
surely does right to entertain that opinion with confi- 
dence, and with faith to cherish that hope. But 
whether any such have existed who have reached even 
to this perfection of the present life, as it is nowhere 
plainly asserted, so does it become us neither readily 
to affirm, nor to deny it. The more sober course is to 
determine from the words of the holy Prophets and 
Apostles themselves (than whom in truth in this 
world, as far as concerns the course of a holy life, 
nothing ever was or is more excellent) to what extent 
we ought to measure our progress in this life. These, 
although by a more abundant gift of God they were 
assailed by very rare or very small failings of human 
nature, and by a fuller affluence of God's grace they 
easily overcame the vices of mortality, yet themselves 
testify that they were not wholly free from them ; so 

* P. 1240. 


that it BELONGS ALONE to that immaculate Lamb to 
have no sin at all ; otherwise that might seem not to 
be imputed to him alone, if any holy one besides 
should be thought free from sin. Let us then be con- 
tent with the confession of the saints, and let us rather 
hear whatever they affirm concerning themselves, than 
pursue what may be either rashly entertained in our 
thoughts, or blown about by our own opinions." 

Could such sentiments, without any exception or 
modification, have been written by Gelasius, had tlie 
Virgin Mary been habitually an object of his contem- 
plation as a mortal without sin? Both Gelasius and 
Leo speak of Christ as having found no one mortal 
without sin when he came to redeem all ; no exception 
whatever being made in favour of the Virgin Mary. 

In a letter to Rusticus, Bishop of Lyons, having 
spoken of the storms of evil which pressed him, and 
the trials of affliction by which he was overwhelmed, 
he, like his predecessor Leo, makes no mention of the 
Virgin, her power and influence, her intercession, her 
guidance and watchful care : his heart (as far as language 
can be an index of the heart) speaks only of God. " But 
we faint not, and amidst so many pressures neither does 
my mind sink, nor my zeal slacken, nor does fear cast 
me down ; but, though in straits and perplexities, we 
place our confidence in him who will with the tempta- 
tions provide a way for escape ; and who, though for a 
time he will allow us to be depressed, yet will not 
suifer us to be overwhelmed."* This letter was writ- 
ten in A.D. 494; after which he held the second Roman 
Council A.D. 496, and in the November of the next year 
he died. This brings us within four years of the end 
of the first five hundred years from the birth of Christ. 
Certainly in Gelasius, the Bishop and Pope of Rome, 

* P. 1259. 


■we see not the shadow of any worship of the Virgin 
at all ; nothing, in faith or practice, corresponding with 
the present belief and practice of the Church of Rome, 
either as held and exemplified in himself, or as existing-, 
to his knowledge, in any part of the Catholic Church 
of Christ. 


Gelasius was succeeded by Anastasius II. ; and Anas- 
tasius, who presided over the Roman Church a few 
days short of two years, was followed by Symmachus, 
whose life extended fourteen years beyond the period 
by which our present investigation is limited. 

In the scanty remains of these two Popes not one 
single expression occurs from which we could infer that 
the invocation of the Virgin Mary, or any faith in her 
merits and influence, was known to them ; yet, when 
speaking of the divine and human nature of our 
Lord, they would have found abundant room for re- 
ferences to her heavenly influence, had the habitual 
associations of their minds led that way. Such re- 
ferences were continually made in after-ages. Invari- 
ably, however, these Pontiffs refer to God alone, the 
first and immediate Giver of every good gift; and 
"their chief hope, yea, the entire ground of their 
hope," their own and their correspondents', is not the 
Virgin, but Christ. Instead of declaring her to be "the 
sole destroyer of heresies," they hope in God that he 
will defend liis truth by his own mighty power and 
silence the oppositions, and upbraidings, and corrup- 
tions of its enemies. Anastasius in his letter of gra- 
tulation to Clovis, King of the French, who had 
just professed Christianity and been baptized in the 
true faith, referring the king's spiritual birth to God 


as the efFecter, thus admonishes him : " Therefore, 
glorious and illustrious son, give joy to thy mother 
[the Church], and be to her a pillar of iron ; for the 
love of many is waxing cold, and by the cunning of 
evil men our barque is tossed by the billows and 
beaten by the foaming waves. But we hope, for hope 
and against hope, and praise the Lord, who hath 
rescued thee from the power of darkness, and hath pro- 
vided for the Church so great a prince, who may be 
able to defend it, and to put on the helmet of salvation 
against the invading attempts of the baneful. Go on 
then, beloved son, that God Almighty may preserve 
thy peace and kingdom with his heavenly protection, 
and give his angels charge to keep thee in all his 
[? thy] ways, and give to thee victory over thy enemies 
round about." 

In the letter of Anastasius to his namesake Anasta- 
sius the Emperor, we are struck by his continual re- 
currence to the Scripture, both of the Old and the 
New Testament, for authority in support of his posi- 

In the Letter of Defence written by Symmaclius 
against the Emperor Anastasius, who had been ex- 
communicated, he thus speaks of Christ's divine and 
human nature : " Christ is truly, wholly God, and 
wholly man ; so was he conceived, so lived in the 
world, so suffered, so descended into hell, so was raised 
again, so appeared with his disciples, so exalted into 
heaven, and so is it said that he will come again, and 
so is he at this day in heaven."* 

* P. 1297. 


To the Bishops of Africa, Symmachus caused this to 
be written (there is a doubt whether he wrote it him- 
self, or used a deacon as an amanuensis) : " God will 
happily accomplish the rewards of your confession, 
when it shall please him to restore rest to the 
Churches; that He may, by the sweetness of peace, 
console us for the sorrow which adversity brought 
upon us." 

" Is this done " (he says) " from the love of life, or 
from the love of souls, in imitation of their first Shep- 
herd, our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, our 
HOPE, who laid down his life for the sheep?"* 

To Cassarius, writing on the restoration of peace to 
the Church, he says : " And if by the help of God the 
risen controversy shall be stayed, let us ascribe that to 
his merits."! 

Thus we find that Bishops of Rome up to the end of 
the fifth century (and how much longer the limits put 
to our investigation do not admit of our inquiry), who 
were, as we learn from their own representations, si- 
milarly circumstanced with the present reigning Pon- 
tiflF, instead of lifting their eyes to the Virgin Mary 
as their hope, as the destroyer of heresies, as the guide 
and preserver of the Lord's ministers, spoke only of 
God as the author of truth, and peace, and wisdom, 
and safety ; and looked for temporal and spiritual bless- 
ings to Him alone, without the intervention of any pa- 
tronage, mediation, influence, power, or intercession 
of the blessed Virgin Mary. 

Symmachus died in a,d. 514. 

* P. 1301. t P. 1308. 



We have now brought our proposed labour to a 
close. We have seen that, in the Church of Rome, 
prayer unequivocal and direct is addressed to the Vir- 
gin Mary for her intercession, and for her patronage, 
and assistance, and spiritual graces ; ^ve have seen 
that God is petitioned to grant the requests of those 
who pray to Him, for the sake of Mary, through her 
merits and intercession ; we have seen that spiritual 
praises are offered to her for past benefits, and hymns 
are sung to her glory ; we find that believers are 
taught to depend upon her as the anchor of their souls, 
and to devote themselves by a solemn act of religion 
to her service as the Queen of Heaven, the Spouse 
of God. The pattern and principles and fundamental 
ground of all this worship we find fully and unques- 
tionably existing in the appointed offices, the authoriz- 
ed and prescribed services, of the Roman Ritual ; whilst 
the excesses and extravagancies of the worship of the 
Virgin we see in the works of doctrine and devotion of 
her votaries, canonized saints, and accredited teachers. 
We accuse not our brethren in the Church of Rome 
of idolatry or heresy ; though we should in our own 
consciences be guilty of both, were we to associate 
any created being with Almighty God as the object of 
our prayer, or with our blessed Saviour as our media- 
tor and intercessor. We condemn not others ; to 
their own Master they stand or fall : but, being per- 


suaded in our own mind that we should act in direct 
opposition to God's own teaching if we were to pray 
to the Virgin, or to pray to God in her name, pleading 
her advocacy, and trusting to her merits ; we at once 
protest against the fundamental errors of that Church, 
which justifies, and enjoins, and requires, on pain of 
excommunication, such worship to be paid to the 
Virgin, as in our consciences we consider to invade 
the province of Almighty God, the Giver of all good, 
and the province of Jesus Christ our Saviour, the 
only Mediator between God and man. 

To assure ourselves on these essential points, we 
have searched the Holy Scripture ; and from its first to 
its last page we find not one iota or tittle to suggest, 
or sanction, or admit of such divine worship being 
offered to the Virgin Mary, but much every way to 
discountenance and forbid it. And to assure ourselves 
that we understand the inspired volume as our fore- 
fathers in Christ received it from the first; that what 
we hold on this point was the tenet of the primitive 
Church ; and that what we dread as a fundamental 
error was introduced by the corruptions of superstition 
in more recent ages ; we have examined, not lightly or 
for a shew of argument, but patiently, and uprightly, 
and to the utmost of our ability and means, the re- 
mains of Christian antiquity. We have especially 
searched into the writings of those whose works, a.d. 
492, received the approbation of the Bishop and the 
Council of Rome ; we have diligently sought for 
evidence in the records of the early Councils ; and we 
find all, not for a few years, or in a portion of Chris- 
tendom, but for five hundred years and more, and in 
every country in the Eastern and in the Western em- 
pire, in Europe, in Africa, and in Asia, testifying as 


with one voice that they knew of no belief in the 
present power of the Virgin and her influence with 
God ; no practice in public or private of praying to 
God through her mediation, or of invoking her for 
her good offices of intercession, and advocacy, and 
patronage ; no offering of thanks and praise made to 
her ; no ascription of divine honour and glory to her 
name. On the contrary, all the writers through those 
ages testify that God was to the early Christians the 
only object of prayer; that to them Christ was the 
only heavenly mediator and intercessor in whom they 
put their trust. 

The revealed trutiis of the Bible, and the witnesses 
of the Christian Church, warn us, as with a voice from 
heaven, never to substitute Mary for Christ, not even 
for a moment, not by the most transient appeal to God 
in her name ; never to seek what we need, as souls 
on our way to God, from any source but the Almighty, 
the first cause of all things, the giver of every good gift, 
the God of all comfort, the only rock of our salvation, 
the only ground of our hope ; and to pour out our 
hearts before him alone, through his only Son alone, 
who is the way, the truth, and the life. 

We honour Mary, we love her memory, we would 
by God's grace follow her example in faith and humi- 
lity, meekness and obedience ; we bless God for the 
wonderful work of salvation, in effecting which she 
was a chosen vessel ; we call her a blessed Saint, and 
a holy Virgin ; we cannot doubt of her eternal hap- 
piness through the merits of Him, who was God of 
the substance of his Father begotten before the world, 
and Man of the substance of his mother born in the 
world. But we cannot address religious praises to 
her ; we cannot trust in her merits, or intercession. 


or advocacy for our acceptance with God ; we can- 
not invoke her for any blessing temporal or spiri- 
tual ; we cannot pray to God through her interces- 
sion or for it : this in us would be sin. We pray 
to God alone ; we offer religious praise, our spiritual 
sacrifices, to God alone ; we trust in God alone ; we 
need no other mediator, we seek no other mediator, 
we apply to no other mediator, intercessor, or advo- 
cate in the unseen world but Jesus Christ alone, the 
Son of God and Man. In this faith we implore God 
alone, for the sake only of his Son, to keep us stedfast 
unto death ; and in the full assurance of the belief 
that this faith is founded upon the Apostles and Pro- 
phets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner- 
stone, we will endeavour, by God's blessing, to pre- 
serve it, as our Church now professes it, whole and 
undefiled, and to deliver it down without spot or stain 
of superstition to our children's children as their best 
inheritance for ever. 

We beseech thee, Lord, pour thy grace into our 
hearts, that as we have known the incarnation of thy 
Son, Jesus Christ, by the message of an angel, so 
by his cross and passion we may be brought unto 
the glory of his resurrection, through the same Jesus 
Christ our Lord. 

Almighty God, who hast given to us thy only-be- 
gotten Son to take our nature upon him and to be 
born of a pure Virgin ; grant that we, being regene- 
rate and made thy children by adoption and grace, 


may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit, through 
the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reign- 
eth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, world 
without end. Amen. 

It is meet, right, and our bounden duty that we 
should at all times and in all places give thanks unto 
thee, O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty, Everlasting 
God ; because thou didst give Jesus Christ, thine only 
Son, to be born for us, who by the operation of the 
Holy Ghost was made very Man, of the substance 
of the Virgin Mary his mother, and that without spot 
of sin, to make us clean from all sin. Therefore with 
Angels and Archangels, and with all the company 
of heaven we laud and magnify thy glorious name, 
evermore praising thee, and saying. Holy! Holy! Holy! 
Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth are full of thy 
glory. Glory be to thee, O Lord Most High ! Amen. 



The reader, even by the perusal of this work, will 
have become aware of the great difficulties which all 
who would ascertain the real views of the early Chris- 
tians must encounter, in consequence of the reckless 
manner in which supposititious works have been as- 
cribed to the saints and most esteemed writers of the 
primitive Church. We have often been distressed 
on finding modern writers making references to works 
which competent judges have long since condemned as 
spurious, and citing them in evidence as genuine produc- 
tions. But the most perplexing cases of all occur when 
persons of note and authority cite the testimony of the 
ancient Fathers without giving any clue to the works in 
which the testimony is contained. Of this we find very 
striking instances in the works of a writer to whom 
we have already referred, Alphonsus Liguori, to two 
or three of which it is thought safer that we advert 
in this place. 

Alphonsus Liguori is, in the estimation of Roman 
Catholic divines, an authority of no ordinary value. 
Dr. Wiseman speaks of him as " a venerable man," 
'' a pattern and a light," " whose life and writings 
inspire us (he says) with an admiration scarcely 
surpassed by that which we feel towards the early 
lights of the Church ;" and in Ireland his work 
called " The Glories of Mary " is recommended as a 
manual for all the faithful. We consider him, there- 
fore, as speaking the sentiments not only of the Court 


satisfactory. The genuine writings of Leo (his Roman 
editors themselves being judges of their genuineness) 
supply no indication whatever of Leo either praying 
to the Virgin himself, even for her intercession, or 
being cognizant of any practice of the kind in the 
Church over which he so long presided. 

There ai*e, indeed, two homilies ascribed to Leo, said 
to have been delivered by him on the feast of the 
Annunciation, which present very different views.* 
These, however, are pronounced unhesitatingly by the 
Roman editor to be beyond all question spurious, and 
we need not refer to them again. It may still be 
worthy of remark, that this is another instance of those 
homilies being proved to be spurious which are said to 
have been delivered on the feast of the Annunciation 
before the end of the fifth century. Every additional 
piece of evidence confirms us in the assurance that the 
institution of that festival must be referred to a date 
subsequent to the period put to our present examina- 

Among the works of Leo pronounced to be genuine, 
we have more than ninety discourses or homilies, and 
upwards of one hundred and seventy epistles, address- 
ed to various individuals or bodies of men, and 
embracing every variety of subject connected with 
the doctrine and worship, the principles and practice, of 
Churches and of private Christians. Of Leo's dis- 
courses, ten were delivered on our Lord's Nativity, in 
every page of which, had he believed and acted as his 
successors now believe and act, he would have been 
irresistibly led to give utterance to his feelings towards 
the Virgin Mary. But his thoughts were fixed on the 
Saviour himself, and his heart was full of gratitude 

* Venice, 1753. Vol. i. pp. 384 and 4S8. 


of Rome, and of the Pope who so lately canonized 
him, but especially also of the bishops and clergy of 
Rome ministering at present in these islands. The 
following passages, with numberless others of the 
same character, occur in that work : 

" Before him (Bonaventura) St. Ignatius had pro- 
nounced that a sinner can be saved only by having 
recourse to the blessed Virgin, whose infinite mercy 
obtains salvation for those who would be condemned 
by infinite justice. Some pretend that the text is 
not taken from Ignatius, but we know that St. Chry- 
sostom attributes it to him."* 

"With what efficacy, with what tender charity, does 
not Mary plead our cause ! From the consideration 
thereof, St. Augustine says to her, ' Men have but 
one sole advocate in heaven, and it is you, Holy 
Virgin.'" t 

" Poor sinners ! how lamentable would be your lot 
if you had not this powerful advocate ! this advocate 
so wise, so prudent, and so tender, that her Son can- 
not condemn those whom she defends." J 

" The glorious St. Gatian affirms, that, though we 
may ask as many graces as we please, we cannot 
obtain them but through the intercession of Mary. 
St. Antoninus says, ' To ask favours without inter- 
posing Mary, is to attempt to fly without wings.' "^ 

" Mary, says St. Chrysostom, has been elected from 
all etfernity as Mother of God, that she may save by 
HEE mercy those to whom her Son in justice cannot 
grant pardon." || 

These are not the sentiments of persons who lived 
centuries ago, or of persons like those whose excesses 

* Dublin, 1843, p. 190. t P. 170. + P. 171. 

§ P. 154. II P, 179. 


Theophilus Raynaud wrote his book to check and dis- 
countenance ; they are the sentiments of one who has 
been dead only fifty-six years, and to whose teaching 
the highest authority in the Church of Rome, only 
five years since, set its seal by its most solemn act of 
all — even his canonization. And what is the doc- 
trine here proclaimed and spread through the world ? 
That the mercy of Mary is infinite, and obtains salva- 
tion for those whom God in his infinite justice would 
condemn : That Jesus, whose own gracious lips assure 
us that the merciful God and Father of us all sent 
him into the world not to condemn the world, but 
that the world through him might be saved, what- 
ever be his will, cannot condemn those whom she 
defends: Though the blessed book of truth assures 
us that we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus 
Christ the righteous, who is also the propitiation for 
our sins, yet here we are told that the Virgin is our sole 
advocate in heaven. Whilst the Lord Jesus declares, 
"Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do,"* 
" Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall 
ask the Father in my name. He will give it you;"t this 
Saint of the Roman Church tells us, we may ask what we 
will, but that without Mary's intercession we can ob- 
tain no grace : Whereas the warrant of the covenant of 
grace is, that the blood of Christ cleanseth from all 
sin, and that in him we have redemption through his 
blood, even the forgiveness of our sins ; here we are 
taught that Mary is to save by her mercy those to 
whom her Son cannot in justice grant pardon. 

These are indeed very startling positions, lament- 
able departures from the truth as it is in Jesus : 
and when we find an appeal made to St. Ignatius, St. 
* John xiv. IS. f John xvi. 23. 


Clirysostom, and St. Augustine, in defence of these doc- 
trines, we may not conceal our feelings of astonishment 
and sorrow. For tlie authorities here cited by Liguori 
most diligent and repeated search has been made, 
and not a trace of either of them can be found. 
In no one of the works attributed to St. Ignatius, 
can any allusion to glich a position be discovered. And 
though Liguori says, " We know that St. Chrysostom 
attributes the text to Ignatius," every other part of St. 
Chrysostom, as well as his work on the life and 
character of St. Ignatius, have been ransacked for any 
allusion to such a statement, but in vain. For the 
testimony also here directly drawn from St. Chrysostom 
and St. Augustine, their works have been searched with 
unremitting scrutiny, but with the same result. Not a 
shadow of any such doctrine can be detected. In 
neither of these, nor in St. Ignatius, is there found any 
the most distant allusion to the mercy, the intercession, 
or the advocacy and saving power of Mary. Their 
uniform teaching is, that the eternal Father is infinite 
in mercy, and will freely pardon believing penitents 
who come to him by his ever-merciful Son. 



The discourses which Vossius published among this 
early writer's works, were, he says,* found by him- 
self in a very ancient MS. belonging to the con- 
vent of Cryptoferrata, near Rome, which he compared 
with the Vatican MS., and also with that of Cardinal 

* P. 109. 


Sirletus. The discourses purport to have been deli- 
vered in honour of the Virgin on the festival of the 
Annunciation ; and Vossius enumerates other discourses 
contained in the same manuscript delivered by illus- 
trious men, among which he specifies that sermon, 
ascribed to St. Athanasius, which the Benedictine 
editors, and Baronius before them, have pronounced to 
be beyond question spurious, and probably a produc- 
tion of the seventh century. 

Neither does Jerome in his enumeration of the works 
of this Gregory, nor any other ancient writer, allude to 
these discourses. Cardinal Bellarmin * indeed himself 
unhesitatingly rejects as spurious two of the new works 
ascribed to this Gregory by Vossius, on the ground that 
they had been written with a view to heresies which 
were not known in the Church till long after the time 
of Gregory; and, when speaking of these very dis- 
courses, he says, "Of them I entertain no certain opinion, 
for the ancients have made no mention of the works ; 
and yet it cannot be proved that they are suppo- 

These discourses profess to have been delivered by 
this Gregory on the festival of the Annunciation, 
whereas that festival was not observed in the Church 
for many ages after his death. 

In the " Acta Sanctorum," indeed, the institution of 
this festival is ascribed to the Virgin herself, who, as 
the legend says, every year observed this day ; the 
Apostles afterwards appointing it to be observed for 
ever in gratitude to the Virgin. But the earliest 
authority cited in that work are these very discourses, 
ascribed now to Gregory. 

* Vol. vii., De Scriptor. Eccles. 


Albati Butler says that Pope Gelasius alludes to this 
festival ; the passage has been carefully sought for, but 
in vain: and even had Gelasius referred to it, that 
would have been two centuries and a half after Gre- 
gory's time. Bellarmin, tenaciously maintaining the 
antiquity of this festival, cites the oration said to have 
been delivered upon it by Atbanasius ; the very oration 
which he himself, and Baronius, and the Benedictines 
pronounce to be spurious ; and which Baronius refers 
to the seventh century. 

Reference has been made to St. Augustine in proof 
of the festival having been observed in his day : even 
that would be more than two centuries later than this 
Gregory's time. But Augustine does not, in the pas- 
sage cited,* allude to any festival at all ; only saying 
that the Church believed the tradition that Christ was 
conceived on the 25th of March, reckoning backward 
from his birth. 

In Spain, this festival was ordered by a Council at 
Toledo to be observed eight days before Christmas, 
but this was so late as a. d. 656 ; afterwards the Spanish 
Church kept both their own day and the 25th of 
March. But whilst the existence of this festival in 
the time of Gregory Thaumaturgus rests on no evi- 
dence whatever, the proof that it was not observed till 
the commencement of the seventh century is conclu- 

By the ancient rules of the Church, all festivals and 
commemorations, even of the martyrs, were forbidden 
in Lent, except the Saturday and the Lord's day. This 
is enacted in the Council of Laodicea,f held in the 

* De Trinitate, Lib. iv. c. 9, vol. viii. p. 810. 
t The date of the Council of Laodicea is not precisely known : 
some writers refer it to a. d. 357 ; others, to a time ten years later. 


middle of the fourth century,* without any exception 
of the Annunciation : whereas, in the Council held at 
Constantinople in the palace of the Emperor, and 
thence called Concilium in Trullo, the same prohibi- 
tion was re-enacted; only, the feast of the Annun- 
ciation was then made an exception. This Council 
was held a. d 692.t 

These homilies have been pronounced by many cele- 
brated critics to be spurious, among whom are Cave 
and Dupin:| and Lumper § at some length proves them 
to be of a much later date. 

But Vossius put off the character of a judge, and 
acted like a partizan; his professed devotedness to 
the worship of the Virgin converting his editorial 
preface into a rhapsody. He dedicates the edition 
to " the Mother of God, the blessed Mary ever Vir- 
gin, and to Saint Gregory;" and the following are 
among the variously combined acts of worship ad- 
dressed chiefly to Mary, while some of them are 
addressed to Gregory as her servant. 

He thus begins: " My mind is astounded, my memory 
fails, my utterance languishes, and my tongue cleaves 
to my jaws, whilst I strive to celebrate the heraldings 
of thy praise, O most holy Virgin, Mother of God, 
Mary! and hold before my mind the mirror of thy 
heroic virtues." 

" Here I will make an end; and I pray and beseech 
thee, Gregory ! together with the most glorious and 
most holy Mother of God, Mary the Virgin, that ye will 
at all times undertake the patronage of me, that ye will 
join your prayers with mine, and never cease to inter- 

* Labbe, vol. i. p. 1505. + Ibid. vol. vi. p. 1165. 

t See Bingham, Book xx. chap, viii § 4. 
§ Lumper, Part xiii. p. 313. 


cede for me with the most merciful God, that through 
YOU, after this frail, sad, and short life ended, I may be 
deemed worthy to reach the life truly blessed and 
eternal." " Hail, Mother, the heaven, the Virgin, the 
throne, and of our Church the honour and glory and 
strength ! Hail, thou, the comfort and ready help of 
those in danger and who have recourse to thee ! Hail, 
refuge of sinners, hope of all the good and afflicted, 
the fountain of grace and of all comfort!'"' Hail, best 
mediatrix between Christ and man ! Hail, sure and 
unfailing protection of us all ! Hail, only relief of 
the troubles and disturbances of this life ! Hail, ONLY 
hope of the desponding, succour of the oppressed, and 
present help of those who fly to thee ! Hail, gate and 
key of heaven's kingdom, the ladder and the way up- 
wards of all the elect ! To thee we cry : remember us, 
O most holy Mother and Virgin ! remember, I say ; 
and, in return for these encomiums and eulogies, 
GIVE us BACK great gifts out of the riches of thy so 
abundant graces. To thee we sigh, that in all our 
troubles and difficulties thou wouldest benignantly and 
promptly succour us." 

It is no longer matter of wonder, that such a man 
should be anxious to make so early a writer as Gregory 
Thaumaturgus the author of homilies in honour of the 
Virgin, when we find him praying for great gifts from 

* If "we compare these words in the original Latin with the 
words of St. Paul in the Latin Vulgate (the version of the Scriptures 
most familiar to Vossius), when the Apostle speaks of our heavenly- 
Father as the God of all comfort :— to every scholar they must seem 
most strikingly identifiable. Vossius addresses Mary as " Fons totius 
consolationis." St. Paul says of God, "Deus totius consolationis." Equally 
painful is it to find, in the next sentence, Mary called " the only 
Hope, the only Relief, the Way to the Place on high." Compare 
John, xiv. 6. 


her abundant treasures, expresslj in return for the 
abundance of his collaudations of her : but it is matter 
of wonder, that such homilies should be appealed to, 
now, as genuine ; though they had never been published 
or enumerated among his works, or referred to as his, 
whether extant or lost, or even heard of for at least 
thirteen hundred years. 




The statement of the Parisian editor, M. Caillau, 
priest of the Society of Mercy, called The Blessed 
Mary Immaculate in her Conception, embodying his 
reasons for pronouncing this work spurious, is as fol- 
lows :* 

" Whilst I was very carefully reflecting on the ma- 
nuscripts of the Benedictines, which Providence had 
placed in my hand, one only seemed to be wanting, 
namely, their sentiments on the tragedy called ' Christ 
Suffering;' and I felt this the more, because a ques- 
tion of a religious no less than a literary interest is 
involved in it. But, for curing this defect, an abundant 
supply was at hand of men the most skilled in every 
branch of criticism who have ever lived down to the 
present time. For, that this tragedy is not to be 
ascribed to [Gregory] the Theologist, there agree with 

* Greg. Theologi. Paris, 1 840. Edit. M. Caillau, Priest of the 
Society of Mercy, called The Blessed Mary Immaculate in her Con- 
ception. — The first volume was published in Paris in the year 1778 
Vol. ii. p. 1205, 


one voice Tillemont,* Dupin,f Baillet, Jugement des 
Savants, J Baronius,^ Rivet, [| Vossius,^ Bellarmin,** 
Labbe,ff and after them, Ceillier."|| 

" Now these are the arguments on which this judge- 
ment, which can scarcely be set aside, is built. In the 
first place, all the old manuscripts are silent as to the 
author's name; and only one manuscript is adduced 
which has the name of the Theologist, and one other 
of Suidas, neither very old nor of much importance, 
where this tragedy is appended to the works of St. Gre- 
gory. Secondly,^^ There is not found in the said work 
that purity of doctrine which all admire in the other 
poems, epistles, and orations of the Theologist. For 
here the most holy Virgin is at one time offended by 
the news of her Son's murder ; at another, cast down by 
an unworthy fear, whereas, according to the saying of 
St. Ambrose, ' The mother stood before the cross, and, 
when the men fled, she stood intrepid ;' at another, in- 
dulging to excess in sighs and groans, though the 
same holy doctor says of her, ' I read of her standing 
— of her weeping, I do not read ;" at another, seized 
at length by a mad fury, and attacking her Son's ene- 
mies with most severe injuries, so as moreover to im- 
precate on them every calamity. To this add, that the 

* Tom. ix. p. 559. t Tom. ii. pp. 372 and 651. 

t Tom. iv. part ii. p. 457. § Tom. i. ad ann. 34, [p. 157,] § 129. 

II Critic. Sac. p. 343. IT Instit. Poetic, lib. ii. c. 14, p. 72. 

** De Script. Eccles. tt De Script. Eccles. 

Xi Hist, des Aut. Sac. tom. vii. p. 176.— The author has verified all 
these references. Fabricius has been lately quoted as acknowledging 
the genuineness of the work in question. But, he only rejects the 
notion of its having been written by Apollinaris, and in the same 
page tells us that Lipsius and even Vossius doubted, and that Triller 
and Valcken undertook to demonstrate that it was spurious, 

§§ Hamburgh, vol. viii. p. 429. 


author, drawing from apocryphal sources accounts un- 
doubtedly false, says that the holy Virgin was brought 
up by the hands of an angel, and was delivered by the 
whole senate as a wife to a modest husband ; that 
Christ appeared to his most holy mother immediately 
after his resurrection ; that many churches were at 
that time erected to the honour of the blessed Virgin, 
and solemn festivals celebrated, — which seems not to 
have been done till about the middle of the fifth cen- 
tury, after the decree published at Ephesus in the year 
431.* Thirdly, In this drama you will seek in vain for 
St. Gregory's elegance of style and varied colouring ; 
moreover, his dignity of language, and correctness of 
metre,! and abundance of similitudes ; by all of which 
the other poems of the blessed doctor are adorned : 
whence it is clear that this poem is not to be ascribed 
TO HIM." The same editor thinks it not improbable 
that it was written by Gregory of Antioch towards the 
close of the sixth century. 

To this judgement we wish to add nothing : there can 
be no doubt of its general soundness. We cannot, how- 
ever, but observe, that it is drawn up by an editor who, 
so far from disparaging the Virgin Mary, is repeatedly 
led into mistakes by his zealous anxiety to do her ho- 
nour. Curious instances of this appear in his index. 
Under the head of Mary, for example, he says, " Mary, a 
support of women ;"" whilst in the passage referred to, 

* Churches dedicated to God were from very early times called by 
the names of Martyrs and Saints, and among others, by the name of 
Mary. But we find no trace of any festival celebrated in honour of 
Mary, till long after the close of the fifth century. See pp. 95, 113, 
157, 372, &c., of this work. 

f Leuenkius pronounces that in this poem no regard is paid to the 
laws of Iambic verse, which were accurately observed by Gregory. — 
See Appendix to vol. ii. Paris edition of Gregory. 


whatever be its meaning, Gregory applies the word, 
not to Mary, but to his own mother, Nonna,"" whom 
he describes as " shining now with Susanna, Mary, 
and the Annas." If the Mary here mentioned by 
Gregory means the blessed Virgin, he mingles her with- 
out any distinction with the others. Again, the editor 
says, "Mary, inferior to Christ, but superior to all 
others ;" whereas, in the poem to which the reference is 
made, Mary's inferiority to Christ is asserted in con- 
junction with all others in heaven and in earth, but 
not one word is said about her superiority to all others.f 
We can only again express our surprise that a work so 
unquestionably spurious as the Tragedy in question, 
should be boldly quoted in the present day, without 
an allusion to any doubt being entertained as to its 



In examining this homily with the view of forming 
a correct judgement as to its genuineness, we must 
bear in mind what was the character of the author to 
whom it is ascribed. He was one of the most learned 
bishops of the Church, and one whose mind had been 
stored with all the knowledge which the most cele- 
brated schools could impart. He had studied in other 
famous seats of learning, and especially at Alexandria, 
and at Athens. Could he have been the author of a 
homily filled with so many gross mistakes and incon- 
sistencies, and confusion of facts and persons ? The 

* Vol. ii, p. 1134 ; Carm. Ixix. t Vol. ii. p. 336. 


question deserves a patient and full examination. 
The alternative is of no slight importance ; if we main- 
tain the genuineness of the oration, then this great 
teacher and Theologist is convicted of gross mistakes, 
inconsistent with the range of his learning and know- 
ledge ; and if the glaring inconsistencies and ignorance 
pervading the homily compel us to pronounce against 
its genuineness, then this testimony to the early pre- 
valence of invocations to Mary (which, slight as it 
is at the best, is acknowledged by the Benedictine 
editors* to be the clearest and most explicit which the 
fourth century can produce,) must be given up. 

In the first place^ then, nothing is known of the 
time, or place, or occasion of the delivery of this ora- 
tion. The notice of Nicetas, which stands as the 
heading of the homily in the Paris edition of 1611, 
states that it was spoken to the people of Nazianzum, 
Gregory's usual place of residence, the day after the 
festival of St. Cyprian, on the orator's return from the 
warm baths at the foot of the precipitous mountain 
near the town ; which he frequented, partly for the 
comfort of retirement, and partly for the cure of an 
infirmity under which he laboured. But the Benedic- 
tine editors reject this supposition altogether, because 
the orator addresses the audience as persons with 
whom he had been only a short time acquainted ; and 
they maintain that the oration was delivered at Con- 
stantinople, A.D. 379. 

Secondly, The Cyprian, in collaudation of whom the 
orator delivered this panegyric, and on whose licentious- 
ness and vice, and magical arts, and violence towards the 
virgin Justina, he was speaking, was St. Cyprian, the re- 
nowned Bishop of Carthage ; whereas alL the editors and 

* Vol. i. p. 437. 


critics, with one voice, pronounce such a stigma upon 
St. Cyprian's character to be a calumny which must 
not for a moment be allowed to attach itself to that holy 
man's name. Thus Dr. Wiseman speaks of " the ma- 
chinations of the magician Cyprian," without any al- 
lusion to the Saint of Carthage. But whoever were 
the orator, that the subject of his discourse was St. 
Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, admits of no doubt. 
The words of the orator, variously and again and again 
repeated, fix the identity of the individual subject of 
his panegyric beyond question. Thus, in one passage, 
he says, " This Cyprian, my friends, —that those of you 
who know it may be the more pleased by the remem- 
brance, and those who know it not may learn the 
fairest of all our histories, and the common glory of 
Christians, — is that man, the great name formerly of 
the Carthaginians, but now of the whole world." 
Again, he says, "He not only presided over the 
Church of the Carthaginians or of Africa (from him 
and on account of him celebrated to the present day), 
but also the whole West, and almost the very East, 
and the South and the North, wherever fame reached. 
Thus Cyprian becomes ours." 

Now, Baronius* affirms, that this was a mistake in 
the orator; that the anecdote must have related to 
some other Cyprian ; and that, as for St. Cyprian of 
Carthage, the story which charges him with having 
used magical arts is a fable to be exploded. Can we con- 
sider Gregory the Theologian, who was the most learned 
man of his time, and who had himself studied in 

* Baronius, Martyr. 26 Sept. p. 376, Paris, 1607; and Annal. 
Eccles. vol. ii. p. 564. Anno Christi 250. " Explosa fabula ilia de 
Cypriani magica arte." 


Africa, to have fallen into such a mistake, and to 
have been the propagator of such a fable ? 

Thirdly, The orator,* in a manner totally at va- 
riance with Gregory's, states that, " if used with 
faith, the very ashes of Cyprian dislodged devils, ex- 
pelled diseases, foretold things to come; as they know 
who have made the experiment, and have delivered 
the account down to us, and will deliver it for times 
to come." 

Fourthly, To abridge the tale in the words of the 
Benedictine editor, the orator f asserts that the body 
of Cyprian, having been hidden by a pious woman, 
was for a long time concealed, and was brought to light 
by a revelation made to another woman. Whereas 
the " Acts of the Proconsulate" f tell us distinctly 
that the body of St. Cyprian, after he was beheaded, 
was carried at night, by torch-light, to the burying- 
place of Macrobius on the Massalian way, near the 
fishponds, with many prayers and exultations. ^ 

Fifthly, the orator asserts that the persecvition, by 
which the Cyprian of whom he speaks was first ba- 
nished and then beheaded, was under Decius, who 
was bent on destroying so eminent a Christian ; 
whereas Cyprian of Carthage, though banished in the 
Decian persecution, yet returned from exile, and, after 
some years of labour in his episcopate, suffered martyr- 
dom about A.D. 259, at the close of Valerian's reign. 

Sixthly, Whilst it is with one voice denied that the 
Cyprian to whose memory the stain of attempt- 
ing Justina's seduction could be the Bishop of 
Carthage, many of the circumstances specified by the 

* P. 449. t P. 448. 

X See Benedictine edition of Cyprian. 
§ Cyprian, Paris, 1726, cxlvii. 


orator as belonging to the subject of his eulogy cor- 
respond precisely with the acknowledged facts of that 
Saint Cyprian s life.* Cyprian's biographer was Pon- 
tus, his own deacon, who witnessed his martyrdom ; 
and what Le tells us of the birth, station, learning, 
wealth, liberality, and the death of his master, coin- 
cides exactly with the description in this panegyric. 
The circumstance, too, beautifully told by the orator, of 
his Cyprian having written many letters to encourage 
and comfort his people under their persecution, which 
both the memoir of Pontus and St. Cyprian's letters, 
still extant, prove to have belonged to the Bishop of 
Carthage, leaves no doubt as to the person whom the 
Orator considered himself to be describing. Whereas, 
on the other hand, the stories detailed by the orator 
of the man practising the arts of magic and summon- 
ing the devil to his aid in the work of seduction, and 
then destroying his books, and then being converted 
by Justina, whose chastity he had attempted, are all 
irreconcileable with the facts of the life of St. Cyprian 
of Carthage, who was himself a married man before 
his conversion, who was converted in his fiftieth year 
by his friend Csecilius the presbyter, and who, instead 
of disgracing himself by magic, engaged in the pursuits 
of literature and practised every moral virtue. The 
orator declares, that the person of whom he spoke was 
Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, the glory of the Catholic 
Church : the question recurs, Could Gregory of Nazi- 
anzum have been that orator? 

Seventhly, To avoid the scandal of leaving such 
imputations on the character of the great Cyprian, 

* There is much difficulty in fixing these dates with minute exact- 
ness ; but allowing for all the varieties of reckoning, the inconsistencies 
and anachronisms in this oration remain unaffected. 


commentators tell us that not he, but Cyprian of Ni- 
comedia was the person meant by the orator. But, 
should we entertain that suggestion, the oration be- 
comes involved in other inconsistencies. The orator 
says, that his Cyprian was beheaded under Decius, who 
died about a. d. 251 ; whereas no account fixes the 
martyrdom of Cyprian of Nicomedia at an earlier date 
than the reign of Diocletian and Maximin'an, which 
did not commence till after the lapse of more than 
thirty years from the death of Decius. 

Eighthly, Supposing the orator to mean Cyprian of 
Nicomedia, then he is altogether mistaken as to the 
kind of death suffered by the martyr. He says it was 
by the sword severing the head from the body (the real 
mode of the martyrdom of Cyprian of Carthage) ; 
whereas Cyprian of Nicomedia, together with his fel- 
low-martyr Justina, was burnt on an instrument of 
torture called the gridiron, or frying-pan. 

Ninthly, If Cyprian of Nicomedia be the subject of 
the orator's panegyric, then the story of the body 
having been hidden by one woman, and revealed to 
another, is no less inapplicable to him, than, on the 
other supposition, it would be to Cyprian of Carthage.* 
We are expressly told that the corpse of the martyr 
was exposed to be devoured by wild beasts, but that 
some Christian sailors carried it away by night and 
bore it to Rome, whence it was removed to Constan- 
tinople, and buried in the basilica, near the baptistry. 

The passage, lastly, in which the orator tells us 
that one woman concealed, and another discovered 
the remains of Cyprian, contains a very extraordinary 
sentence, by no means to be overlooked in our present 

* See Baronius, Martyr. Sept. 26, p. 376. 


inquiry, as to the author of this oration. The reading 
may, perhaps, be a corruption, but it stands thus: — 
" That the woman might also be purified ; as those 
WOMEN who both before gave birth to Christ, and told 
his disciples after his resurrection from the dead, so 
now also the one woman shewing, the other giving up 

With these instances before us of the confusion, and 
contradictions, and inconsistencies which pervade this 
oration throughout, we cannot allow it to be the ge- 
nuine production of so eminent and learned a divine 
as Gregory of Nazianzum. We cannot conceive that 
a bishop so deeply imbued with literature in all its 
branches, sacred and secular, doctrinal and historical, 
could have delivered an oration which professes in the 
plainest language, and by various expressions, to be a 
panegyric on that Cyprian who was the renowned pre- 
late of Carthage, the glory of Africa and the world, 
and yet which is pervaded with a tissue of inconsisten- 
cies and contradictions, biographical and historical, 
from its first to its last page. This, however, is con- 
fessed to be the clearest testimony which the fourth 
century provides of the invocation of the Virgin. 


That the two homilies referred to in the text, and 
now ascribed to Cyril, (palpably different versions of the 
same original,) are the productions of a later age, can 

* 'SlcTjrtp Tov ^picrrdy ical Tt/cSirat TtpoTwov- 


scarcely admit of the least doubt. That the homily 
quoted by Dr. Wiseman is a corrupt .copy, whoever 
was its author, we learn even from Aubert himself, 
who first added it to Cyril's works. That editor in- 
forms us that he copied it out from a most faulty 
(mendacissimo) manuscript in the King's Library 
(Paris), and emended it as well as he could, by 
guesses. He tells us, also, that it will prove itself to 
any one at a glance to be the genuine offspring of 
Cyril : assigning, as his proof, " that the author of 
the homily inveighs against Nestorius ; and also, by 
a most clear testimony, calls Celestinus Archbishop of 


Celestinus was Bishop of Rome when the Council 
of Ephesus was convened; and among the monu- 
ments of that council many letters are recorded, some 
from Cyril to Celestinus, some from Celestinus to 
Cyril, and some from each of those bishops to others, 
with the epistles of other bishops to them. Now, so 
far from Cyril acknowledging Celestinus to be Arch- 
bishop of the whole M'orld, in his letter to Nestorius he 
speaks of Celestinus as Bishop, indeed, of Great Rome, 
but still as his fellow-minister, and brother, and fel- 
low-bishop;* and he addresses him just as he does the 
Bishop of Constantinople : " Cyril, to the most holy 
father and most dear to God, Celestinus;" " Cyril, to 
the most holy and sacred lord archbishop and father, 
Maximianus." And Cyril is thus addressed by Celes- 
tinus : " Celestinus, to his beloved brother, Cyril." 
Celestinus, in one letter, adds, " The same we have 
written to our holy brothers and fellow-bishops, John 
[Antioch], Juvenal [Jerusalem], Flavian [Constanti- 

* iiScX(j>ov Kal crvWeiTovpyov iifiSiv : again, avvtiriuKoirov fji-iwv. 



nople]," &c. And he urges Cyril to induce Nesto- 
rius to confess the same faith " which the Roman 
Church holds, and the Church of your holiness [Alex- 
andria] holds," &c. Paul, Bishop of Emesa, thus ad- 
dressed Cyril : " To my lord, the most holy and sacred 
archbishop, Cyril." And John, Bishop of Antioch, ad- 
dresses in the same terms Xystus, Bishop of Rome, 
Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, and Maximianus, Bishop 
of Constantinople, as " his most holy brethren." 

But whoever was the author, the homily in point 
of evidence is of no value. It might with equal 
reason be cited by a pagan in defence of his address- 
ing an invocation to a thing that never had life. 
"Hail, thou City of the Ephesians, — rather. God- 
dess of the Sea;^^ because, instead of earthly har- 
bours, angelical and heavenly harbours are come to 
thee ! And hail, thou thrice-blessed John, Apostle and 
Evangelist ! and hail, thou, too, Mary, who didst bear 
God!" In the body of the homily, the preacher cer- 
tainly " attributes to Mary the works of Christ;" ascrib- 
ing to her, among other works of the only Saviour, the 
salvation of every believing soul : " Hail Mary, parent 
of God, through whom every spirit that believes is 
saved ! " The close of the other version of the same 
homily, which is found also in vol. iv. of the General 
Councils, p. 1251, as it now stands, is a mass of confu- 
sion ; in which, nevertheless, whatever be the author's 
meaning, he declares that, when he praises Mary, it is 
the Church he is praising : " Praising the ever- Virgin 

* It is difficult to know how to render this expression juaXXov Se 
^aXairao^sa. The Latin of Aubert renders it, " Novo maris prospectu 
ornatior." Mr. Palmer (Letter V. to Dr. Wiseman, p. 27), translates 
it, " more than sea-beholding," It has been rendered, " Spectacle of 
the sea ;" but nothing turns upon the meaning of the word. 


Mary, that is to say, the holy Church and her Son, and 
her spotless husband, because to him is glory for ever- 

Cardinal Bellarmin f seems not to have been at all 
aware of the existence of such a homily.:]: 



The Author did not originally intend to refer to this 
work. It has, however, been cited in evidence as a 
"remarkable monument" of the worship of the Virgin 
Mary in the fourth century ; and its character has 
been very recently defended by supporters of that 

The testimony of this brief and insulated produc- 
tion (the Latin translation of which occupies only 
seven folio pages) is thus quoted with apparently im- 
plicit confidence in its character.^ 

" A remarkable monument of most confident sup- 
plication made to the Blessed Virgin, and that too in 
the presence of, and suggested by, her image, we have 
in The Acts of St. Mary of Egypt. The Bollandists || 

» Vol. vi. p. 358. t Vol. vii. p. 50. 

:j; See Concilii Ephesini Acta; Ingolstad. 1576. Concilia Generalia; 
Florence, 1761, vols, iv and v. 

§ Dr. Wiseman's Remarks on Mr. Palmer's Letter. London, 
1841, p. 26. 

II Dr. Wiseman refers to the treatise on " The Life" or " Acts of 
Mary," as though it were the joint work of many; it is in reality, 
however, the production only of one, who speaks of himself in the 
first person singular — See Acta Sanctorum, torn. i. April 2, p. 68. 

2 c 2 


liave proved that her conversion, the effect of that 
prayer, took place about the year 383, and that the 
Acts themselves cannot have been composed later 
than 500. We are there told by herself, that, unable 
to enter the Church of Jerusalem on the festival of 
the Holy Cross, in deep distress of mind, looking up, 
she beheld a figure of the Blessed Virgin, and, fixing 
her eyes upon it, she spoke these words ; ' Lady Virgin, 
I know myself to be unworthy to look up to an image 
of thee most pure ; help me in my distress, and without 
assistance, command that entrance be permitted me, 
&c., that I may venerate the divine cross.' It would 
be too long here to quote all that follows, and there- 
fore I throw some of it into a note. How similar is 
the language of the fourth century to that now re- 
probated so harshly in the Catholic Church after a 
lapse of fourteen centuries ! " 

The points here stated by Dr. Wiseman to be 
proved are two : first, that Mary of Egypt was con- 
verted in consequence of her prayer to the Virgin 
about the year 883 ; and, secondly, that the work 
called " the Acts of St. Mary of Egypt" cannot have 
been composed later than a.d. 500. Into the nature 
and validity of that proof we will now inquire ; but 
it may be well briefly to state the contents of the 
work itself 

An Egyptian girl, at the tender age of twelve 
years, discarding the affection of her father and mo- 
ther, and deserting their roof, went to live in the city 
of Alexandria, where she immediately entered upon a 
life of the most abandoned profligacy, too dreadful, 
she says, to be told. Having persevered in confirmed 
habits of unceasing dissoluteness for full seventeen 
years, on one summer's day she saw large crowds of 


people flocking towards the shore ; and, on asking what 
it meant, she found that they were on the point of em- 
barking for Jerusalem, to be present at the- solemnity 
of elevating the holy Cross. She immediately resolved 
to join the party, and, throwing away her distaff, she 
ran to the sea ; but she had no money to pay her pas- 
sage or to procure provisions. After some disappoint- 
ment, she found a knot of fine young men, full of 
mirth and laughter, ten or more in number, on whom 
she prevailed to take her with them. The transactions 
of that voyage and journey, she says, were too shock- 
ing for religious and moral ears to hear. At length 
reaching Jerusalem, for some days she carried on 
her wicked practices. Then, on the day of the so- 
lemnity, she approached the church, seeking what 
young men she might allure into her snare ; but, 
when she came in the midst of the thronging crowd, 
she was not suffered to enter, but was constantly 
pushed and pulled back by some invisible power. At 
length she gave over the attempt, and withdrew ; and, 
in much agony of mind, seeing a representation of the 
Virgin Mary in the court, she addressed to her a long 
prayer, promising never to return to her evil ways, 
and invoking the Virgin to cause her to be admitted. 
She then returned to the church, and no longer found 
any difficulty of entrance, but was gratified by wit- 
nessing: the exaltation of the Cross. She then ad- 
dressed to the Virgin a prayer, promising to devote 
her life to her, and asking for her guidance. On leav- 
ing the church, a person put three pieces of money 
into her hand, saying, " Mother, take this." 

Having heard a voice which said, " If you will cross 
the Jordan, you shall find rest," she forthwith went 
to a baker's shop and bought three loaves, and en- 


quired of him the way. This was about the third 
hour ; and, reaching the Jordan by night, she received 
the holy Communion in the Church of Christ's fore- 
runner. Here she ate half a loaf, and slept ; and next 
morning crossed the river in a boat which she found 
on the bank. She then made for the wilderness ; the 
bread became dry, and was all soon consumed. Her 
clothes, also, wore away ; and in the wilderness she 
lived in the open air without any lodging, without any 
clothing, and without any food beyond the herbs and 
such other things as she could find in the desert. 
The first seventeen years of this life she passed in 
constant and violent struggles against her unbridled 
and wild passions, which raged like untamed wild 
beasts, and in praying always to the Virgin to deliver 
her from her temptations. After the lapse of these 
seventeen years of conflict she discerned a bright 
light shining all around her, and from that moment 
she was tempted no more. Still she continued for 
full thirty years longer in the same wilderness, house- 
less and naked, and without any food, but feeding 
inwardly on the word of God, and being clothed by it. 
Through the whole of this space of forty-seven years she 
had seen neither the face of a human being, nor a 
wild beast, nor any other animal ; but, at that time, 
her solitude was interrupted. 

In- Palestine, on the west of the Jordan, was a 
monastery, the monks of which were in the habit 
of passing some portion of Lent in the wilderness, 
separated from each other, and returning always be- 
fore Palm Sunday. One of them, named Zosimas, 
who had lived in a monastery for fifty-three years, 
in his wanderings, whilst engaged in prayer, was 
suddenly arrested by the appearance of an ema- 


ciated naked figure, with black skin as if from 
tlie heat of the sun, and hair like wool, who turned 
hastily from him and retreated towards the interior 
of the desert; he, forgetting his advanced age, ran 
after her with all speed, and gaining ground upon 
her, (she being seventy-four years of age,) after great 
exertion finding himself at length within hearing, 
prayed the fugitive not to fly from an aged sinner 
like him. She, however, ran down a sort of water- 
course, and mounted the other side ; then she stopped, 
and, telling him that she was a woman, prayed him 
to throw off his cloak that she might cover her person 
with it. He did so. After joining in prayer, he ear- 
nestly besought her to tell him her history ; but she 
first inquired of him what was going on in the Chi-istian 
\vorld, what the Kings were doing, and how the Church 
was governed. He replied to her, " By your prayers, 
mother, God has given settled peace and quiet- 
ness TO THE Church." She then prayed, and he 
afterwards swore, calling God to witness, that he saw 
her suspended in the air a cubit from the earth. He 
implored her then to tell him her whole liistory, which 
she did, having besought him never to cease praying 
for her, and conjuring him not to tell it to any one be- 
fore her death. Afterwards she urges him to go away, 
and 23t'omises that he should see her the next year ; 
she charges him, however, not to cross the Jordan at 
the usual time, but to wait in the monastery till the 
Thursday preceding Good Friday, and then to come 
to the west side of Jordan and to tarry there for hev, 
bringing with him the consecrated elements, that he 
might administer the holy Communion to her. They 
then parted, he having first adored the ground on 
which she stood. 


He remained in the convent without divulging the 
matter to any one : and when the week in Lent came 
round in which it was usual for the monks to leave 
the convent, he found that a slight fever would have de- 
tained him had he desired to go. But on the day ap- 
pointed, having taken a small cup (parvum poculum) 
of the consecrated elements, he sate on the banks of 
Jordan waiting for her ; and when night had set in (it 
being a bright full-moon) he perceived Mary on the 
other side, but doubted how she could get over. Soon, 
however, he saw her making the sign of the cross upon 
the waters, and then walking over upon their surface, 
as if it had been on dry ground. On this occasion, she, 
having given him the usual kiss of peace, and received 
the Communion from his hands, repeated part of the 
Song of Simeon, and then bade him return to his 
home. She told him, however, to come the next 
year to the watercourse, where he first met her. 
Having taken three grains on the tip of her finger 
from his basket of provisions, saying, the grace of 
God was sufficient to keep the soul pure, she re- 
crossed the Jordan, walking upon the waters as be- 

The next year Zosimas went into the desert at 
the set time, and at length found Mary a corpse, 
stretched on the ground; and, having kissed her feet, 
he thought within himself whether it would be agree- 
able to her that he should bury her. On looking 
round, he saw these words written on the ground : 
" Zosimas, bury in this place the humble Mary, re- 
store earth to earth ; but pray the Lord for me as the 
ninth day is passing of the month Parmuthi, according 
to the Egyptians;* which is, according to the Romans, 
* This is the Latin version. 


April ; that is, the fifth of the Ides of April, on the 
night of the Passion which brings salvation, after re- 
ceiving the divine and holy Supper." 

On discovering this writing, Zosimas took a stick, 
and attempted to dig a grave with it ; but the stick 
was dry and rotten, and it broke : when, lifting up his 
eyes, he saw a lion standing by the corpse and licking 
her footsteps ; which surprised him the more, because 
Mary had never seen any wild beast there. The lion 
seemed not inclined to injure Zosimas ; on the contrary, 
by a motion he saluted him, and shewed himself willing 
to assist him, and then Zosimas addressed him thus : 
" O lion, you can much assist me in digging this grave 
with your claws." On which the lion scratched the 
grave, into which Zosimas laid the body, wrapped up in 
the cloak which he had given her at their first interview. 
The lion withdrew into the desert, and Zosimas re- 
turned to his convent, and told his superior and bre- 
thren. Mary had at first charged Zosimas to warn his 
superior that some irregularities were going on in his 
convent, which he, on inquiry, found to be true ; thus 
verifying Mary's words, and proving her to have been 
inspired ! The monks preserved the remembrance of 
these things, and delivered down the story by oral tra- 
dition, till after the death of Zosimas, in about the 
hundredth year of his age. 

Some time after, the writer of the Acts of Mary, 
whoever he was, not finding that the history had ever 
been committed to writing, composed the book which 
is the subject of our present inquiry. 

We need not here dwell either upon the character of 
the story itself, or upon the insufficiency of oral tradi- 
tion for the correct transmission through so many years 
of the very words used, because the credibility of the 


story is in reality not the point at issue. For, however 
incredible the legend may be deemed, yet, if the work 
called "The Acts of Mary," was composed before a. d. 
500, as the BoUandist is said to have proved, it would 
be evidence that the offering of prayers to the Virgin, 
such as are sought to be now justified by the alleged 
practice of the primitive Church, was at that time 
known as an established custom. We will now, there- 
fore, inquire into the nature of that proof. 

The theory of the BoUandist is this : 

That the conversion of the Egyptian penitent took 
place about a. d. S83 ; that her death, forty-eight 
years afterwards, happened in 431 ; that Zosimas 
outlived her twenty years or more ; that the monks 
preserved her history by word of mouth tor thirty 
years or more after his death ; that the author of the 
Acts then recorded it before a.d. 500. 

The BoUandist is said to have proved, that her 
conversion, the effect of her prayer to the Virgin, took 
place about a.d. 383. Now, the foundation on which 
he builds his argument are the questions put by 
Mary, and the answer made by Zosimas at their 
first meeting ; and it is essential to that proof, not 
that the substance only of her question, but the yery 
words, nay, the very number of the noun and of the 
verb used, should have been remembered by Zosi- 
mjJts, and reported without change to the monks, and 
preserved accurately by them, and received by the 
author, and recorded in his history, without any alter- 
ation ; and also, that the answer made by Zosimas of 
necessity implies what the BoUandist attaches to it. 

Mary requests Zosimas to acquaint her with what 
was going on in the world. The question which, as 
the BoUandist says, fixes the time before which her 


conversion could not have taken place, is this: "What 
are the kings doing ? " This, he says, of necessity 
implies that the question was asked by one who had 
left the world for solitude, after the death of the Em- 
peror Constantine, and at a time when more than one 
emperor possessed the sovereignty. She does not say, 
" What is the king doing ? " but " What are the kings 
doing? " 

But she asks also as to the state of the Church and 
the world ; and the answer of Zosimas, informing her 
that God had, through her prayers, given lasting peace, 
is represented as implying that her death could not 
have taken place at the time when the Church was 
distracted by heresies, nor when the seas were infested 
by pirates, and the roads with robbers, as they were in 
after-days; otherwise, such large numbers would not 
have ventured to cross the seas, and take their journey 
to Jerusalem. 

But in the writing on the earth, which requested 
Zosimas to bury her corpse, she also enjoined him to 
pray for her on Good Friday, the day she died ; that 
day, as the BoUandist resolves, falling in the year of her 
death on the first of April. This, says the BoUandist, 
will enable us, without difficulty, to determine the time 
of her death. For between the year 348, which must be 
too early, and the year 511, which must (as he assumes) 
be too late, (in both of which years Good Friday hap- 
pened on the first of April,) only two years occur when 
Good Friday happened on the same day, viz. 432 and 
421, on one of which, coDsequently, her death must 
have taken place. The first is preferred, when peace 
generally prevailed. Thus she would have been con- 
verted about 383, fifty-eight years from the elevation 
of the cross by Constantine. This would allow of 


Zosimas outliving Mary full thirty years, and the 
story might well have been preserved, though un- 
written yet, in the mouth of the monks for twenty or 
thirty years after his death, and thus the history might 
have been composed about 480, and the historian might 
truly say he wrote what happened in his time. The 
Bollandist supposes, that, on the publication of this 
history to the world, search would immediately be 
made for her body, and her relics would be sent to 

The reader will observe, that all this reasoning is 
built on certain assumed facts and dates, any one 
of which being removed, the reasoning falls to the 
ground ; whilst to any person acquainted with the his- 
tory of those times, many occasions will occur on which 
the answer of Zosimas would have been as appropriate, 
at least, as it could have been in the supposed year 
420 or 432. 

But a most serious difficulty was here to be encoun- 
tered by the Bollandist, in fixing upon the first day of 
April as the day of her death ; for the Latin copies 
distinctly say, that the day of her death was the ninth 
of April, not the first. This would upset the whole argu- 
ment : but the Bollandist says that the Greeks were 
more likely to know, as she was a Greek saint; yet 
many of the Greek MSS. specify no date at all. And 
in -a Latin MS.* in the British Museum, of the 13th 
century, the date of the month is altogether omitted, 
and the only words said to have been written on the 
ground are these : " Father Zozimas, bury in this place 
the little corpse of the wretched Mary, — restore to 
the earth its own dust ; and pray for me to the Lord 
by whose command you M^ere sent. In the month of 

* Harleian MS., 2800. 


April I am taken to heaven." So utterly worthless 
is any argument built upon the supposed day of her 
death ! 

The Bollandist, moreover, states that even " April 
1st" was not in the original sentence written by Mary 
on the ground, but was added by the historian, or 
some other, for explanation; and that the Latin in- 
terpreter officiously and wrongly substituted April 
9th ; and, in the copy which the Bollandist gives us of 
the translation of the work, he omits all the words 
which specify the day. Moreover, the whole of his 
reasoning is built on the supposition that Mary died 
on the first of April, and that the first of April was also 
the first of the Egyptian month Parmuthi. Whereas, 
on the contrary, the first of Parmuthi was the 27th 
of March, and the first of April was the sixth of 
Parmuthi;* and the Oxford Greek MSS. most dis- 
tinctly say, " In the month of Parmuthi, on the first." 

But the more important question is as to the time 
at which the work was composed. The Bollandist is 
said to have proved that it could not have been com- 
posed later than a. d. 500. His argument is no 
other than this. In the year 518, Eleutherius, as an 
ancient history reports, going to Rome, received as a 
present from Hormisda, the Pope, certain relics of St. 
Mary of Egypt, and the head is specified (p. 71), 
which, together with the shoulder of St. Stephen the 
Protomartyr, he carried with him to Tournay; but the 
Bollandist says, that in the work in question, no men- 
tion is made of her bones having been then exhumed : 
consequently the exhumation, he argues, must have 

* "Rudimenta Linguae Coptse, ad usum Collegii Urbani de propa- 
ganda fide." Rome, 1 778, p. 396. " L'Art de verifier las Dates," torn. i. 
Paris, 1783, p. xx. 


taken place between the time of writing that book, 
and A. D. 518; therefore, it is proved that the work 
could not have been composed after the year 500 ! 

But, supposing the reasoning on these supposed facts 
to be valid here, there is this extraordinary and con- 
flicting fact recorded by Paulus Jlmilius, an Abbot, and 
afterwards Archbishop of Urbino, that, in the year 
One thousand and fifty-nine, Luke, Abbot of a monas- 
tery at Carbona, in Calabria, in his visit to the Holy 
Land, searched for and found Mary's grave, and brought 
the BODY from Palestine : a priest, however, stole the 
HEAD, and sold it to the nuns of St. Mary of Egypt, for 
their church at Naples ; and Franciscus Gonzaga says, 
that though " it had no letters testimonial," yet the 
number of miracles wrought by that relic recommended 
it, and indicated that it was the real head of " the glo- 
rious sinner.''''* If Luke exhumed the body in 1059, 
what confidence can be placed in an argument built 
on the tradition that Pope Hormisda gave part of 
Mary's body to Eleutherius in 518 ? The Bollan- 

* Gonzaga tells us that the head was exhibited on the altar from the 
vespers of her feast to sunset on her octave. He says he needs only 
specify one miracle, and it is this : The officer whose duty it was to 
offer incense about the head, said within himself, " Perhaps, after all, 
this is not the head of St. Mary of Egypt /' on which he was seized 
with great agony. But the nuns' confessor, coming in, cried out, " I 
most firmly believe this to be the head of St. Mary of Egypt ;" and he 
gavato the incredulous officer a drink of water, which he had expressly 
for the purpose poured into it. No sooner had he swallowed the 
draught than he was restored, and confessed his want of faith ; and 
from that time, says Gonzaga, the relic was held in still greater ho- 
nour. Though the head was, according to one account, taken by 
Eleutherius to Tournay in 518, and, according to another, was in 
1059 sold to the nuns of Carbona, 3'et the BoUandist tells us that 
there was a great dispute between the people of Cremona and Car- 
bona, as to which of the two had the greater share of Mary's relics. 


dist supposes that the monks may have originally 
taken only a small portion of the remains and sent 
them to Rome, leaving the rest in the tomb. This 
statement of the archbishop invalidates the argument 
on which the date of the composition is said to be 
proved to have taken place before a.d. 500. 

Dynamius Patricius, however, Rector of the Patri- 
mony of the Roman Church in Gaul, who died in 598, 
is cited to prove that the history of Mary was known 
in that country at a very early date. Supposing the 
work to be genuine, he speaks nothing of the Acts or 
the Life of Mary, as the Bollandist represents him to 
have spoken ; but only gives two instances of a wild 
beast having assisted at the grave of a holy person ; 
one of which is Mary of Egypt, the other being Paul 
the first hermit.* 

While the Bollandist builds his theory on mere 
assumptions, and cannot, as he confesses, oifer any con- 
jecture as to the authorship of the work in ques- 
tion, other testimony claims attention. Nicephorus 
CallistuSjf who lived towards the end of the thir- 

* The Author does not intend to give an opinion as to the genuine- 
ness of this work. Petrus de Natalibus could not find any manuscript 
of it ; the only copy known is that from which the Bollandist says he 
derived his information. The story in the Life of Marius is this : " At 
another time, when he was going to visit some sons of the Church, a 
hitch with whelps suddenly springing at him tore his satchel. But 
as this servant of God bent down his face for a little while at this, 
two wolves, revengers of the injury, seized the bitch, and destining it 
for their own food carried it to the wood, as the people witnessed. But 
if any one does not believe that sometimes the beasts of the forest, 
laying aside their savageness, have known how to minister to the 
benefit of the righteous, let him hear that lions made the grave of 
Paul the first hermit, and of St. Mary of Egypt ; let him hear, and 
In all praise God, and wonder, and believe." 

t Vol. ii. p. 738, lib. xvii. c. 5. 


teenth century, is the first writer known to have 
mentioned the " Life of Mary of Egypt " as a work ; 
and in his history, having given a succinct account of 
the story just as we now find it, he distinctly ascribes 
it, with commendations, to Sophronius, Patriarch of 
Jerusalem, as its author. In this work Callistus says 
nothing of the time at which the Life was composed, 
nor does he allude to Andrew of Crete, or any other 
as contemporary with Sophronius. But the Bollan- 
dist says that Callistus, in another work ascribed to 
him, called Synaxaria, &;c., when speaking of Andrew, 
Archbishop of Crete, asserts that Andrew wrote his 
Great Canon at the time when Sophronius wrote his 
Life of Mary of Egypt, and that he carried them both 
with him to the Sixth Council at Constantinople, a. d. 
680. This, the Bollandist says, involves an anachro- 
nism : and at the same time he assures us, that he found 
in that account of Callistus more errors than periods. 
But supposing that historian, in another indepen- 
dent ■work ascribed to him, in which he speaks only 
incidentally of Sophronius, and of the Life of Mary, 
to have fallen into a mistake as to the time at which 
Sophronius composed that memoir, or Andrew com- 
posed his Great Canon, that cannot invalidate the 
positive and direct declaration in his history as to 
the authorship of the Life of Mary, of which he was 
then writing. And certain it is, and the Bollandist 
does not deny the fact, that Sophronius is the writer 
to whom the work is ascribed in different Greek ma- 
nuscripts, while no manuscript whatever, Greek or 
Latin, refers it to any other author. In the Bodleian 
Library we have three Greek manuscripts* of this 

* MS. Baroc. cxcvii. f. 321-6 ; MS. Cromwell, vi. f. 71; MS. 
Laud. Gr. xxx. ad calcem. 


" Life of St. Mary of Egypt ;" which are of the four- 
teenth and fifteenth centuries ; and in every one of 
them the " Life " is ascribed distinctly to Sophronius, 
Archbishop of Jerusalem. Surius* considers the 
Latin translation which he had adopted, as superior 
to many others. He took it from a very ancient ma- 
nuscript, the title of which was " The Life of Mary of 
Egypt, the author being among the Greeks Sophro- 
nius, Bishop of Jerusalem ; and translated by Paul, the 
Deacon of the Church of Naples ;" while Coccius, who 
cites every passage which he can make to bear on the 
worship of the Virgin, quotes this work as the produc- 
tion of Sophronius, Bishop of Jerusalem, and assigns 
to it the date of 630. 

A review of this dissertation will, it is believed, con- 
vince any unprejudiced mind, that, so far from the 
Bollandist having proved the Egyptian penitent's 
conversion to have been about a.d. 383, there is not 
one particle of solidity in his argument ; resting, as 
it does, upon assumed premises, and gratuitous suppo- 
sitions, and met as it is by antagonist facts and ar- 
guments at every step : and so far from his having 
PROVED that the work was written before a.d. 500, 
his only asserted fact to establish that point is contra- 
dicted point-blank by, at least, an equally authentic 
story. The first writer who mentions " The Acts," or 
" The Life," ascribes it to Sophronius, who lived to- 
wards the close of the seventh century : various ma- 
nuscripts of the work bear his name as its author; 
and it has never been ascribed to any other. 

* Vol. ii. p. 186. Venice, 1581. 



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